A Bitter Poison

Has the pain of your past become a prison in your present?

Ephesians 4:31-32

Picture a man hunched over a chemistry set, adding a pinch of this and a dash of that to the unpleasant green fluid before him. He is thinking of someone who harmed him, replaying all the perceived slights and hurts, and is concocting a poison to repay the offender.

His work finished, he breathes a sigh of relief and takes the beaker in his hands, marveling at what’s been created. “This will show him,” the man says, and then drinks the bitter brew himself.

That’s a surprising twist, to be sure. Yet there is a good chance you’ve essentially done this very thing at one time or another.

Bitterness is a poison that we prepare for someone else but then drink ourselves. It is something we often carefully nurture and grow over the years. If someone hurts us—whether intentionally or unintentionally—and we begin to fantasize of a thousand and one ways to get payback, all we are doing is destroying our own heart and mind. Thankfully, our faith presents a better way to live. Rather than nurture hate, we can “turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14).