Are there some people in life who seem to continually rub you the wrong way? It seems that whatever they say or whatever they do, it irritates you and you are sometimes tempted to hold resentment. Most likely each of us could name at least one or two people who fit this description. How do we handle such difficult people?
Ephesians 4:31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. NLT
Paul tells us that we can’t allow ourselves to hold on to our bitterness. Bitterness is not only a sin; it is a cancer that eats away at our soul. Note these words from the book of Hebrews –
Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.
Here we see that bitterness is like a root or a vine that begins to grow and eventually takes control of our entire being. It defiles not only our relationship with those with whom we are angry, but also our relationship with others and even with God.
Again we ask the question – ‘How do we handle such difficult people?’ The King James Version says –
‘Let all bitterness … be put away from you.’
The way Paul originally wrote this indicates that a power, greater than our own, must help us get rid of these angry feelings. That power is the power of Christ, displayed in our lives through the indwelling Holy Spirit. We must pray to Christ and ask for His forgiveness, and then we must ask for Him to enable us to let go of our angry feelings and in place of these feelings, become kind, tenderhearted and forgiving.