Exodus 15: 22 - 25; 26b
22 Then Moses ordered Israel to set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter. That is why it was called Marah. 24 And the people complained against Moses, saying, "What shall we drink?" 25 He cried out to the Lord; and the Lord showed him a piece of wood;he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. 26b for I am the Lord who heals you."
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
May the sensational and strengthening Spirit of Christ rest in your hearts, minds and souls.
For a moment today, I wanted to speak to you about an emotion we all must battle as it feeds off of anger and resentment from being treated wrongfully or purposefully hurt. In an essence, when anger is unexpressed in open and healthy ways, it will feed and grow into an emotion which is toxic to our soul- bitterness.
Bitter from what a spouse said or did.
Bitter from a promotion missed at work.
Bitter from the inequality in the world.
Bitter from the hurt someone caused.
All of these realities should cause anger; anger is a normal response to situations which are wrong or unjust and we get hurt. However anger which sits in our souls poisons us. Anger can be expressed through a dialogue of listening and speaking, exercise, beating a punching bag, writing, creating, protesting, or perhaps organizing. We should all look to discover innovative ways for anger to be expressed and the hurt we carry released.
The above verses from the exodus story are one when the people were justifiably angry to find themselves in the wilderness for three days and finding no clean water to drink. In the wilderness, filled with anger they find bitter water to try to quench their thirst.
So, what happens? Moses cried out to the Lord and God made the bitter water sweet to drink! Beyond the physical aforementioned means to express anger, we also must not forget spiritual means. Through prayer ask for God to move us beyond our hurt and erase the bitterness.
The single greatest tool to transform anger to sweetness and not bitterness is through the act of prayer and forgiveness. In my life, I have found only God can heal my heart, mind and soul from the hurt other people have caused me. God through the gift of Jesus has given to us a Spirit which brings release to our anger and relief to our soul.
Forgiveness does not make everything better; forgiveness keeps us from living bitter. With the injustices in the world and the hurt people cause, there is still great work to bring reconciliation in strained relationships but forgiveness empowers us to release the pain caused by the hurt others caused. Don't let a past hurt occupy a current space.
Pray. Breathe. Where is the hurt in you? How are you still letting the hurt remain? Lord, heal me to be better; not bitter. Release. Forgive and let the grace of God abound.
Love, Pastor G