June 18, 2012


Hebrews 12:14-17

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…
—Ephesians 4:26


Michelle was born into a family with a long-standing grudge. She was aware from an early age that her mother and grandmother did not get along with one another. Family birthdays and holiday celebrations could not bring them together in one house. If one was invited, the other refused to come.

When Michelle became a believer in Christ as a teenager, this bitterness in her family saddened her. She attempted to be the peacemaker. She went to both her mother and grandmother to find out the cause of this resentment. To her great surprise, neither could remember exactly what had started the feud more than 20 years earlier. All they knew was that the other person was to blame.

Many of us have let not only a day go by with anger in our heart against someone, but also weeks, months, and years. Let’s be honest: time does not heal all wounds. The passing of time often hardens anger into bitterness. As we replay someone’s offense over and over in our minds, it grows in importance and in the pain it has caused us.

God warns us that harboring resentment in our hearts is playing into the devil’s schemes. Stored up bitterness may explode one day into verbal abuse or even violence. God tells us to grasp his peace instead of growing bitter and hateful.

Lord of peace, shine your light into my closet of bitterness and show me how to clean it out. Thank you for letting go of all my sins against you, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

About the author — David Zandstra

David Zandstra is a retired pastor living in Marietta, Georgia, having served five churches from New Jersey to California. Along with other ministries, he counsels clients of a pregnancy resource center. He acknowledges his indebtedness to the training and resources of Peacemaker Ministries. David and his wife, Margie, have three children and six grandchildren.

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