Bitterness! Oh what a loaded word!
When I hear it, no matter the context, it gives me a twinge of anxiety and causes my mind to wander to different crevices of my heart. Some of these filled long ago, but others still very tender, even today. It’s in those tender places that I can feel the sting start to move straight up from my heart to my mind in an attempt to take my thoughts captive!
The feeling of bitterness certainly isn’t exclusive to me, to us as women or even to our generation.
In reading the story of Michal, this dangerous feeling was large and in charge right in the tangled web of her life. When we meet Michal, we quickly learn that she’s a princess! Now I’m not talking about a “princess” like you and I may joke about being or that our moms may warn our soon to be spouses that we “think” we are!
No, she was actually a true princess, the daughter of King Saul! She found herself enamored with David who her father was not so fond of. There were clearly some jealously issues there since David had been hand-picked by God to be the future King! Here the story begins to read like a best-selling novel as Saul, with a sinister ulterior motive, gives his daughter to David to be his wife, while quickly setting into motion his plans to kill his new son-in-law. Michal loves David so she betrays her father, helps David escape and he goes into hiding. While David is on the run for years, both he and Michal marry again. Saul dies, David becomes king and demands the return of his wife, Michal, and steals her away from her new husband …
Doesn’t this sound just like a made for TV movie?
Although Michal is now a Queen, life certainly isn’t perfect! The Word says Michal develops a heart of bitterness against David and the story sadly concludes with a lonely and childless Michal who appears to live out her days separated from David … depressing, right?
Though the Word doesn’t go into detail about why Michal ended up such a bitter soul, I can only imagine there were many “should have,” “could have” and “what if” thoughts she may have wrestled with. Not unlike Michal and maybe yourself, these questions sometimes keep me up at night. When I begin to question how my life has played out, it’s easy to feel that splinter of bitterness begin to grow into a branch or, heaven forbid, I let it become a full size tree! You see, the shade of that bitterness tree can begin to cover us and it’s easy to find ourselves resting there. In those moments, the enemy wants us to be angry and let the hurt take over. He will lie to us and make us believe that we have to live there in our bitterness.
Each heart knows its own bitterness,
and no one else can share its joy. – Proverbs 14:10
Which splinters are keeping your wounds of bitterness open? The betrayal of an ex-husband or boyfriend? Feelings of abandonment by a parent? Perhaps in-laws who seem to completely discount your feelings or those of your children? A boss you feel doesn’t value you or completely overlooks your hard work? Maybe a friend who walked away at a time you really needed her?
You see, it doesn’t matter how amazing our lives are, how much money we have, what position we hold in the community or even if we’re royalty (perhaps a princess), if we allow ourselves to believe the lies of the enemy and harbor bitterness in our hearts, we will never be at peace and things others do TO us will always be our focus instead of what God is doing IN us!
May we NEVER forget that we, like Michal ARE princesses … we are daughters of THE KING OF KINGS!
Let’s not allow ourselves to be destroyed by harboring destructive feelings. We can choose today to be better or we can choose to be bitter! Yikes, I better go pray … I want to be better!
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10
Amber Edwards is married and has two teenagers. While she works as a Paralegal, her true heart is for others. This passion led her to start a blessing bag ministry for the homeless, which affords her many opportunities to share her faith and love for the Lord. Amber grew up in Birmingham and is an active member at Church of the Highlands where she serves on the Events Team and co-leads small groups.