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1. Admit that you have bitterness in your heart. Treat it like any other sin, confessing it to the Lord and receiving His forgiveness. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
2. Recognize that bitterness is wrong and damaging to you.
3. Take responsibility for your own mistakes rather than trying to blame others. "First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye" (Matt. 7:5).
4. Look for the lessons the Holy Spirit wants to teach you in your circumstances.
5. Do not talk about your bitterness, or the experiences that caused it to develop, to others.
6. Stay in harmony with godly friends and associates.
7. Meditate on the Scriptures, especially the psalms, many of which record David's crying out to the Lord in painful circumstances.
8. Plan new experiences in your future.
9. Look ahead and not backwards, as Paul learned to do: "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13-14).
10. Be filled with the Spirit, for then bitterness will be literally "choked out" and displaced.
11. Study the lives of winners--winners over bitterness--in
the Bible. Joseph, who had to forgive his brothers for selling him as a slave, is a good example. You must never allow the root of bitterness to rob you
of the success and joy you can experience as a winner.
12. Remind yourself that winning over bitterness (when you make up your mind to surrender to God) is just a matter of time.
I had an opportunity when my first husband passed away to allow bitterness to take hold in my heart. We had been pastoring a church together, and I knew I would miss his godly leadership. But God didn't allow me to dwell on the negative aspects of his absence.
About 20 days after he died, I was sitting on the platform as the new interim pastor. Draped in black from my head to my toes, I looked like a professional mourner. I had already purchased several outfits in navy blue or black for the season of grieving ahead.
The time came for me to rise and walk to the podium to do the "senior pastor" thing. Suddenly, the Lord arrested me and commanded me to stop the praise singers from singing so pitifully. He told me to signal all the musicians in the band to be silent and to say to the church exactly what He ordered.
By faith, I stepped forward, not knowing what God was going to ask me to do. In that moment, the Lord reminded me that "His house is to be a house of praise and worship." Although our senior pastor had died, He, the Lord, was still alive and worthy to be praised!
He told me, "Bend down, and when you lift your head, lift the veil off your face, take the hat off your head, and begin to praise Me." He was literally pushing me to lead our church from mourning into worshiping.
After the service, I went home and removed all the newly purchased black and blue outfits. I put the veiled hats away. On that day, our church became a house of praise again!
Don't let the circumstances in your life prevent you from praising and worshiping God. Don't let any crisis keep you from loving Him. And don't allow pain to remain locked up inside your soul so long that it turns to bitterness. You will have victory over it if you surrender to Him.
Wanda Davis-Turner is a nationally acclaimed minister, teacher, prophet, life coach and best-selling author.
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