Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bitter Is, As Bitter Does

The preacher at my church talked about bitterness on Sunday.

His sermon came from the 12th Chapter of Hebrews and he was basically discussing how bitterness corrupts our lives. It was definitely the right sermon at the right time for me.

When you think about race as much as I do, it's easy to become bitter. It's easy to become disenchanted and very easy to get frustrated at the willful ignorance of some people. I'm not saying that there hasn't been progress in this country, but I think the progress has been overstated in many cases. Moreover, I think people are far too consumed with patting themselves on the back, and are missing out on the opportunity to really finish the job.

What did Chris Rock say about expecting praise for what you're SUPPOSED to do?

But, no matter what shortcomings I see in the world, I have to remind myself to guard against bitterness and cynicism. Bitterness can sour us on the world and it prevents us from enjoying good things. There have been times in my life when I've allowed bitterness about past racism to prevent me from establishing relationships with white people. There have been times when I've let bitterness become resentment, and it's affected all of my relationships.

It's hard to guard against bitterness, particularly when we believe our indignation is righteous. If we think we've truly been wronged, we can hold on to that anger until it consumes and ultimately destroys us. But, God encourages us to practice forgiveness, and even if you don't believe in God, I think forgiveness cleanses the soul's palate, and allows us to taste anew life's vigor.

Guard your heart against bitterness because it serves no good purpose. Protect your relationships from resentment because it will only destroy them. Practice forgiveness because only it can bestow true freedom on your life.



Lisa J said...

Your words are so true. I've been struggling with this as an issue myself and was recently told by someone very wise to look more to the future or to concentrate on the present rather than the past. I know when I think too much about the past I tend to get a little bitter too, it can be hard. Good to know I'm not the only one grappling with that, especially in these times b/c I was so overjoyed when Obama was elected and on inauguration day and though I have so much faith in him, I get dragged down by all of the stupid, arrogant nasty comments that are being thrown at him by the right which gets way too much mainstream coverage and it makes me a little bitter. But if I let those bitter people, make me bitter too, how am I any different. I guess we are all in this together.

Peace out Big Man.

ch555x said...

nice write-up and co-signed...

Big Man said...

Thanks for the comments guys.

This was on my heart to write about, and I felt like it needed to be said.

Thordaddy said...

Big man,

This will probably be the closest you get to validating the original premise for Acts of Affirmation.

Lolo said...

Oh my. Words that are especially hard to live by. It is a challenge for me and for me to teach my children. "Let it go, it does you more harm than the person you're angry with."

But it can be so difficult to not get stuck in that loop of "why did they, and why didn't I, and I should have and next time I'll kick ..."

Having children is such a sobering reminder of living the example that you teach.

Raving Black Lunatic