This past week I wrapped up the final group session with a woman I’ve been mentoring through my Break Free study for a few months. She was a assaulted as a teen by a youth minister, and it had left her bitter and broken for many years.
When I first met her, she visibly carried a weight of bitterness and resentment towards this man. It was in her face and overall demeanor. Her desire was to see him pay for what he had done so many years ago. Not in the sense of taking revenge, but more as a means of seeing justice take place.
We met for several weeks in little coffee shop. The first weeks were a challenge, as she struggled to take her focus off of her abuser, and fixing it on the One who can bring the justice she so deeply desired, Jesus. As she slowly walked through the steps of our study, I began to see a change. Among several things the Lord freed her from, the weight of bitterness was visibly lifted.
This past week, as we closed our last meeting together, I saw a woman who has visibly been set free from the weight of her past. It was the most beautiful sight! She looked light, radiant, and happy. Instead of hanging onto something that was robbing her of her joy, she made a decision to take certain steps to let it go and move forward with all the great things that God has for her ahead.
Has bitterness and resentment taken root in your heart because of a past wound? If so, I would challenge you to do these three things:
1. Search out the source of your bitterness, anger, or resentments. Answer this question to help you get started:
I am angry at (or bitter towards) _____________ because ___________________.
2. Complete that sentence as many times as you need to in a journal or notebook you use to collect your thoughts.
3. Write a letter to the person who you would say is the main source of these feelings of anger or bitterness (this is a draft, not what you would actually send or say in person, if given the chance.) Be raw and real in the first draft, saying what you would say to this person if they were willing to listen. Once it’s written, walk away from it for a few days. Come back, and read it again. Revise what needs to be revised, and then ask God to give you the courage and timing to share it with the person involved.
Ephesians 4:31,32 says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
This is not an easy path to follow, friends. Especially when we carry the wound of childhood sexual abuse. But, as believers we are called to this truth and until we walk in it fully, we will continue to be enslaved by the pain of our past and miss all that God has for us ahead.
The truth is, God has immeasurably more ahead for you than you could ever ask or imagine! He is good, and He can be trusted with any injustices that have taken place in our lives.