Sickness of the heart

As the leaves change from deep green to beautiful colors of yellow, red and orange we are reminded that winter is just around the corner. 

With the cold weather, sickness moves in too. Outside of every pharmacy or in our doctor’s office we see signs that read, “get your flu shot today.” 

There are those that believe that the flu shot is too risky and choose to forgo receiving it altogether. But then there are those that have experienced the awful body aches, chills and cough that accompany the flu and will take every precaution to avoid ever experiencing it again. 

Regardless of whether you choose to be vaccinated against the flu or not, we realize that we each have a personal choice and understand that we will face whatever consequences come of it. 

Looking around at friends, family, acquaintances and even ourselves often we fail to recognize the flu of the heart. The flu of the heart is bitterness.

In Proverbs 14:10 we read, “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.”

Like the flu, bitterness attacks us and seeks to destroy our health. It creeps in the smallest of ways.

Every year we recognize as the seasons change there will be a need to take extra precautions to avoid sickness, but how do we vaccinate and protect our heart from the disease of bitterness?

It is easy to avoid the outdoors, bundle up with a jacket or place the heater at a certain temperature to keep us warm but bitterness isn’t as easy.

When we are hurt, offended, ignored or overlooked it is easy to bundle ourselves up and protect our hearts from ever allowing “that” to happen again. We hit delete on our Face Book accounts and rid ourselves of that person or person’s that rubbed up against us and left an ugly bruise.  We make vows such as “I will never let them hurt me that way again” or “I let them in for the last time!” We even become defensive of people that the Lord may be using to further prune us so that we can fully mature in our faith. Yet we drown out the responsibility we have in avoiding the sickness that is about to occur.

The only vaccine for bitterness is forgiveness. Whether you call yourself a Christian or not, forgiveness is a language we all speak. There are seasons in all of our lives when we seem to struggle with uttering those three words…”I forgive you.” We feel justified in our anger and exercise our freedom to withdraw or attack. Whether your approach to hurt is to hunker down and wait out the storm (in hopes of never dealing with that problem again). Or you may be the person that goes out swinging all the while leaving casualties in your wake.

The only outcome to either approach is certain sickness of the heart.

While confrontation isn’t comfortable it is often necessary.

It is necessary to confront the emotions and analyze the reasons behind our response. 

Our response dictates our ability to forgive.

Your ability to forgive isn’t dependant on the other person or their actions… it is however dependant on you and your reaction.

The vaccination of forgiveness is offered to all. 

Every person is responsible for accepting the cure to the dreadful disease of bitterness. 
If you choose not to guard your heart, you will be taking the risk of forever being toxic to others. 

Once you have chosen to vaccinate yourself against bitterness, with forgiveness, it becomes increasingly easier to enjoy healthy life giving relationships.

Will you choose today to guard your heart and accept the only cure?

Please share with your family and friends. 

Do you have an experience where you thought forgiving someone would "let them off of the hook?" But you found out it let you off of the hook..... please share. 

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