KEYWORDS: things, lord, others, help, life, people

Overcoming the Past

Karen Zerby

Maria #202 DO 2877 12/92—More on How to Get the Victory over Bitterness!—By Mama Maria

(Editor's note: The following was originally intended for a Hope Mag. This is why Mama is referred to as Mama Maria‚ & there are pow–wow questions‚ references to seeking help from Teen Shepherds, parents, etc. However, Mama felt this counsel could be just as helpful for our adults as for our JETTs & teens, thus it is being published in a GN.)

1. THE FAMILY IS ENTERING INTO A NEW DAY with exciting challenges & battles ahead, & we're already seeing the Lord win greater victories in really getting His Message out in a greater way than ever before! It's no surprise that the Enemy has been aiming his anger so much at you, our precious JETTs & teens, both physically & spiritually, since the Lord is using you more & more as His witnesses, & bringing many of you into the limelight to "speak with the enemies in the gate!" (See Psa.127:4-5.)

2. Who would have ever dreamed last year at this time that many of you would appear on some of the World's major news networks, & come before governors, presidents & nations, boldly defending your Family in the face of some of our enemies' bitter attacks!

3. Well‚ greater things are coming! The Lord has plainly indicated that He wants to use you in even greater ways! He said that you are important & you will help win the World, but this means that you, like the adults‚ must get rid of anything that is holding you back from giving your all to Him & to our fight for the Truth & souls. As the Lord said in prophecy at Summit '92: "Therefore cast off these machinations of the Evil One that would try to enter into your heart & pollute your inner being. For yea, I have called you a holy nation, pure & sanctified unto Me & Me alone.... For so must these, the fruit of your loins, go through this threshold. They too must choose for themselves whether they will heed the Words of David, & prosper thereby, or whether they will heed their own impulses, & come to nought."

4. With so much ahead of you, & so many new souls to be won, who wants to carry around old problems from the past to weigh you down? Who wants to keep fighting the Devil over old, over-worn problems & burdens from the past‚ instead of moving ahead to battle for the souls & service of others? It's time to really go on the attack so that you can be fighting for the Lord & for your Family & brethren, instead of being bogged down in the old, stale problems of the past that the Enemy would love to tie you down to!

5. If you're like most of us, there are probably areas of your life that you may have some questions about. There may be things in the past or the present that you have had a hard time accepting, or you may wonder if you would be able to boldly defend something that you may have some questions about yourself. Anything that makes you fear or eats away at you with doubts is definitely the Enemy trying to make you want to run away from the battle, just when there are so many wonderful souls & witnessing victories ahead!

6. It's time now to arm yourselves with the shield of faith!—And to do that‚ you may need to "empty wind" your heart of any dead weights or things in the past or the present that still bother you. You don't want to be left behind fighting with the Devil just over your old past, which is dead & gone. Now it's time to be winning new territory, gaining new souls & influencing & winning others, as well as strengthening your brothers & sisters around you!

"But Let a Man Examine Himself"—1Cor.11:28a.

"Let us search & try our ways, & turn again to the Lord."—Lam.3:40.

7. As much as your parents & Shepherds love you, it's impossible for them to protect you from every difficulty, pain or problem in your life. The Lord allows things to happen for our good somehow, but it's up to us how we take them‚ & whether or not we resist the urge to harbour bitterness about them.

8. If there's anything negative at all in your life, or anything that you don't consider totally positive, that doesn't go your way or make you entirely happy at the moment‚ the Enemy will try to get you to resent it. If he can get you to be critical of it, grumble about it, or dislike it, then that can be the beginning of a resentful spirit or root of bitterness.

9. It's not good to dwell on the negative side of things, but there are times when it's good to face your fears & problems with the help of loving Shepherds & the Word. This is a good time for you to ask for the help you need for any burdens or things that bother you.

10. As you read the rest of this GN, it would be helpful for you to know exactly what you'd like the Lord's help with, so we have included a listing of some common, normal things that happen, which can remind you of things you want the Lord to help you overcome. Some of these things happen in almost everyone's life. All kids go through most of these things at some time or another, whether they're in the Family or not, no matter what their background is. Some of these are called "growing pains." Sadly, the World often doesn't understand them‚ but we know from the Word that they have a purpose: They strengthen us & teach us to love, understand & help others.

11. Can you take a pencil & paper as you are reading the following list, & write down the numbers of any of these points that are troubling to you? You can also make a note of any other things that have bothered you that may come to your mind while you're reading this. Remember that the reason for this list is not to give you more things to add to a "Complaint File," but so you can make a list of things which apply to you personally.

12. What a blessing it will be to get these things taken care of & then be able to just leave them behind! It will be very important for you to make the time to pray with your Shepherds or parents about any of these points that you feel bother you now, or from time to time. "One can chase a thousand; two can put ten thousand to flight."—Deut.32:30.

"Looking Diligently" Checklist

"Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, & thereby many be defiled."—Heb.12:15.

13. Although almost everyone experiences these things‚ have you ever felt resentful & harboured any questions or felt that in time you could become bitter over any of the following situations in your life? Most people have the following battles to some degree or other, but what we're talking about here is when you've had a battle that left you bitter, resentful or with unanswered questions.

1.) Feeling unliked, unwanted, unpopular with your group or excluded* from your desired friends, left out by "cliques*". *(See page 16 for common definitions of words marked by an asterisk.)

2.) Feeling hurt because someone you've greatly admired or loved hasn't returned your love.

3.) Missing out on special meetings, Teen Camps, teen fellowships, or special activities.

4.) Losing a friend or girlfriend or boyfriend, or loved one, through one of you having to move.

5.) Moving from a large centre to a smaller situation where there are fewer friends‚ & fewer activities.

6.) Not having the opportunity to learn a desired ministry.

7.) Being in a ministry or situation that seems to be uninspiring or unexciting to you.

8.) Having battles with jealousy over the relationships‚ ministries or circumstances of others, or comparing yourself with others & being envious of their blessings.

9.) Having real physical hardships or handicaps, or feeling physically inferior, & feeling separated from friends, groups of companions, or activities because of it.

10.) Having to be in quarantine at special times because of illness‚ such as during Christmas, special activities, meetings or camps‚ etc.

11.) Having to often battle with asthma or other debilitating physical diseases, or long-term afflictions that you have to keep fighting.

12.) Missing parents or loved ones who you feel aren't available when you want them or need them. Feeling that Shepherds, parents, foster parents or loved ones are too busy for you‚ or don't care enough to try to help you or understand you.

13.) Comparing situations between kids who have parents & those who have foster parents.

14.) Feeling badly if your Family group can't do some of the fun activities or things that you see other Family groups do.

15.) Having to stay in the same circumstances for many years while others are able to move more often than you.

16.) Having difficulties getting along with others in general, or with specific persons.

17.) Having to work with or under others who seem critical & unhelpful. Having to work or fellowship with people that you don't want to be with.

18.) Feeling left out because others have nicer clothing than you‚ or receive nice gifts from grandparents or friends, or because you don't have anyone to give you gifts like some do.

19.) Having difficulties with scholastics, such as reading‚ writing‚ or math, etc.

20.) Feeling like someone has "betrayed" your confidence & shown you a lack of love; feeling that you can no longer trust this person, or that they've shown that they don't really love you.

21.) Often feeling misunderstood, or hurt & easily offended by others or circumstances.

22.) Feeling that you have been ridiculed, taunted*, made fun of, or humiliated in public by adults or by peers*.

23.) Feeling that you've received correction that was undeserved or given for the wrong reasons.

24.) Feeling unjustly accused or disciplined, especially when public embarrassment or something that you feel has been bad for you results from it, such as: A loss of important privileges, a move from some Home or ministry or group, or that others now see you in a bad light, or don't trust you‚ etc.

25.) Having emotional fears & hurts when parents or loved ones have conflicts, & you fear for your family life & togetherness.

26.) Having your parents separate‚ & losing the personal family togetherness that you once had.

27.) Hearing what you feel is bad news about someone in your family that you love, battling with questions as to why the Lord let it happen, feeling like you might have prevented it if you'd had a chance, etc.

28.) Not having a boyfriend or girlfriend.

29.) Not being able to have sex.

30.) Having something happen to you that really bothers you, but you feel that you won't be able to tell anyone because they wouldn't understand, or it might get you or someone else in trouble, or create a situation that would be too embarrassing if other people found out.

31.) Feeling that life would have been better & easier if some things hadn't happened to you.

32.) Feeling that you've been "labelled" by others because of your NWOs or because of situations you feel were misunderstood, or by things you shared from your heart in confidence.

33.) Being dissatisfied or even bitterly unhappy about your looks, your personality, or your weaknesses, etc.

34.) Not getting to have or do something that you want or think you should have or are entitled to.

35.) Having to battle with recurring spiritual or emotional weaknesses.

36.) Feeling that you can't express your heart or the way you feel about things well enough so that people will be able to really understand you. Feeling isolated because you don't feel like you can really communicate from your heart & be understood. Feeling that your Shepherd or overseer or parents or mate don't understand how you feel about things, which saddens or hurts you because you feel you're missing out on a real need.

37.) Feeling that you can't mix well with others or have fun in fellowship like others do, that it's too hard for you to enter into conversations, & that nobody really wants to hear from you anyway. Feeling very lonely & isolated by your shyness or fear of entering in. Not feeling happy or comfortable in groups of people & envying people who are & seem happier‚ blaming the Lord that He made you this way.

38.) In general, any circumstances in which you feel "God is not being fair to you," by allowing you to experience difficulties, disappointments‚ & disillusionment.

14. Now that you've probably recognised some things that you might need help with, the following counsel points the way to victory over them, with the help of the Lord & others. Please be sure that you do get the prayer & help & counsel from your Shepherds that you need.

Rising Above Circumstances!

15. The wonderful thing about it is that even if you have been hurt & reacted bitterly & resentfully because of people's actions or because of your own reactions, you can get it all straightened out. You can experience a real freedom from those hurts & negative feelings. You can even have a change in your heart & attitude, thanks to the Lord's Love & forgiveness & His power to help us! "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!"—1Cor.15:57.

16. God's Word says, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."—2Cor.5:17. The more we get immersed in Jesus & His Word & His ways, the more we become new creatures, the more old things do pass away, & the more things become new. It doesn't happen all at once, but as we put our will on His side, & as we work to make the Word part of us‚ more & more things from the distant or recent past that used to plague us don't bother us any more. Things that used to make us feel bad when we thought about them can become less painful & a less important part of our life.

17. We can be transformed by the renewing of our mind! We don't have to be conformed to the way the World does things, or accept the painful consequences of past experiences like the World does. The Christian life is all about rising above our circumstances, not letting things get us down, overcoming obstacles!—Making stepping stones out of stumbling blocks!—Destroying the works of the Devil!—Becoming healed in body & mind through faith!—Becoming whole through the Lord's Love!—Becoming free from the bondage of fear & hate through the Word!—Letting Jesus resolve & override problems carried over from the past by His renewing & transforming of our mind! (See Eph.4:23; Rom.12:2.)

18. It is a fact from the Word that no matter how bad we may feel our past has been, no matter what problems we have carried with us due to our own misunderstandings or weaknesses or due to the mistakes of others‚ once we reach the age of accountability we have a responsibility to do something ourselves about these problems. If you're going to mature in the Lord, you have to recognise your own personal responsibility & accountability, & no longer blame your problems on your parents or your teachers or your friends. (For more on this topic‚ see "Taking the Blame" by Mama Maria‚ DB3, pg.257.)

19. It is always a mistake to try to find people & situations in our past on which to place the blame for our present problems, weaknesses or sins. While it is true that some of our problems may have partially resulted from things that happened in our childhood or in our past, still these things do not have to control us or even continue to negatively influence us emotionally, mentally or spiritually.

20. Why should we spend unnecessary & painful moments in blaming others when God can give us the victory if we'll receive it? The fact that we can have some measure of control over the way we are is obvious when we look at different individuals who have gone through the same things we have, but some have reacted in one way & some in another‚ & as a result‚ turned out to be very different types of people: Some are happy, healthy, & well-adjusted; others are just the opposite—depressed, unhappy, discontented or disturbed.

21. I'm not denying that we are all products of our environment* to some extent, & as such have been influenced positively in some respects & negatively in others. There's no one in this World who has had completely positive experiences; everyone has had at least some difficulties & hurts caused by past experiences, some of which have been long-lasting. But the important thing for you to remember is that you can ask the Lord for help in overcoming any problems caused by past hurts.

The Problem with Placing the Blame

22. It's ironic that some people don't thank God for any of their blessings, yet they blame Him for things that go wrong. Somehow, they think He's not responsible for all the good in their life, He's only responsible for the bad. Their relationship with the Lord is completely contrary to how it should be—they don't praise Him in good times & they murmur against Him or curse Him in bad times—when the Word says we should thank Him for everything‚ knowing that He has a good & loving purpose behind it all! "In every thing give thanks, for this is the Will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you!"—1Thes.5:18.

23. If you follow this Scriptural commandment to give thanks in all things, it will keep you from blaming God unjustifiably‚ or even blaming others. The problem in trying to place the blame on others is that it is often misplaced!—Because it's a very complicated task to rightly assign blame in a situation, especially if you're trying to sort out who is to blame for the way a person turns out in life. There are so many factors involved & so many things that have happened in a lifetime, so many spiritual, physical, mental & emotional factors that it's nearly impossible to try to decide who is responsible or who is to blame for the problems a person has in the present.

24. And even if you could accurately fix the blame‚ which is very difficult & almost impossible, & even if someone else may have played a part in your problems‚ the fact remains that if you blame someone else for your problems, then you yourself will not be able to learn from them. If you look at each problem as though it's someone else's instead of yours, you won't get desperate with the Lord & call out to Him for His answers & His strength.

25. The Lord & His Word seem to put most of the responsibility clearly on each of us for how we react to whatever situations we find ourselves in. He's given each person a free will & free choice, & is constantly asking us, personally, to make the right decisions, & to take the right steps to get ahold of the Lord for His help. As the Word says, "Work out your own salvation with fear & trembling."—Phil.2:12. "Every one of us shall give account of himself to God."—Rom.14:12. "Every man shall bear his own burden" (Gal.6:5)‚ & "choose ye this day whom ye will serve!"—Josh.24:15.

26. The popular trend in the World nowadays is to blame all your problems in the present on things which happened to you in the past—on your parents‚ your siblings*, your peers, your environment, your heredity, etc.—And hardly anything at all on the personal choices that you have made. Of course, it humbles your pride to accept that maybe you're not right in being bitter against someone or something.

27. But when it comes right down to it, the responsibility for your present-day problems rests upon you because you have the option, the ability, the privilege & even the authority to call upon the Lord's power to resolve the problems, to change you‚ to remedy the situations‚ to deliver you, & to make you a new creature in Him. You can ask Him, as David did, to "create in me a clean heart‚ O God, & renew a right spirit within me!"—Psa.51:10.

The Lord Is Greater than Your Circumstances!

28. Every single one of us has things in our lives that we could get bitter about & blame our present problems on. Everybody has something in their life that could seriously hinder & cripple them if they allowed it to get them down & didn't rise above it. But the wonderful thing about it is that the Lord has made a way for us to overcome those things, & in fact‚ He intends for us to! Because His help is available to us, past circumstances do not have to dictate our present behaviour.

29. Look at all the men in history who rose above seemingly insurmountable* odds to become great—overcoming poverty, physical handicaps, poor family backgrounds, etc. We could name quite a few very good examples of great men & women who had experiences or events in their lives that they could have easily become bitter about, but they didn't! They just fought harder to overcome those obstacles‚ & in so doing they became strengthened. Instead of complaining that life had given them a "lemon" (a bad deal)‚ they "made lemonade out of their lemons."

30. Furthermore‚ because of their supposed handicaps‚ these people rose higher than they would have otherwise. George Bernard Shaw, for example, was terribly shy, but because he was determined to overcome his timidity, he forced himself to speak publicly, joining debate societies & speaking at public meetings—all in an effort to overcome the difficulty he had in speaking publicly. He then not only got the victory over his shyness, but his weakness became his strength as he became a brilliant & witty speaker & prominent writer of widespread influence. (See "Good Thots II," Trials:811.)

31. Some people were born into great poverty, but fought to overcome it & to be able to do something in life in spite of it. Often because they'd had these problems, they turned around & were able to have sympathy & compassion on others who were poor, & worked towards making life better for them. For example‚ Booker T. Washington was born a poor slave‚ but after working hard in coal mines & salt mines, he became an educator & spokesman for American Blacks, establishing a school so other Blacks could learn useful skills & improve their lives.

32. Very often it's the people who have experienced difficulties in life & have overcome them, who are in turn able to be a great influence in helping many others to have the courage & faith to overcome their difficulties. Their example is a proof to those who see & hear of their struggles & victories that it is possible to overcome great difficulties in life, & rise above seemingly impossible situations to triumph in the face of despair. Their victories are a tremendous proof to all that difficult circumstances do not have to overcome us, but that we can rise above them if our heart & our attitude is right.

33. Jerome K. Jerome was a British writer whose father died when he was 12, & at 14 he had to go to work to support his mother & sister. His life got even harder when his mother died, but after many different jobs, the end result was that he became a writer—not of sad stories, but a famous humorist*, writing funny stories to encourage others. After such a hard beginning in life, he said, "It is from the struggle, not the victory, that we gain strength."

34. Grandpa tells the story of a young man who had grown up with a very severe case of stammering. He had been prayed for repeatedly, but the Lord had not seen fit to deliver him. Finally, this precious young Christian concluded, "Well, I guess the Lord wants me to use my stammering for His glory, because when I witness to others, they feel so sorry for me‚ they always listen!" Even though he couldn't get rid of the problem, he didn't let it overcome him. He didn't let it cause him to sink into withdrawal from others. Instead, he learned to use it for his advantage & for God's glory. He got to the point where he could even thank God for his affliction & see the good in it.

Seeing Obstacles as Stepping Stones!

35. We certainly do not have to be confined or limited emotionally, mentally or spiritually by the weights of our past. In fact, the Lord allows those things so we will fight to get the victory over them‚ & the Lord intends for them to make us stronger. Instead of looking at obstacles or mishaps or bad experiences as so terrible & horrible & such drawbacks & handicaps, we can use those things to make our life better. We can see them as stepping stones for climbing upward. Then they don't hold us back & pull us down, but we can actually use them to improve our lives & the lives of others. Through this process, the Lord forces us to fight & become stronger because of the struggle.

36. If we didn't have any problems to fight, we'd just be complacent* & meander* along casually‚ not building the strength of character that comes from fighting to overcome problems. We wouldn't see the beauty blossom in our lives which suffering often results in, or find true friends in those who come to our side to help in the battle. We wouldn't be able to have compassion on others who have gone through the same thing or be able to "comfort them with the same comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God" (2Cor.1:4), & understand what they are going through & be able to help them to overcome.

37. If you never had any trials, you wouldn't be able to get really close to the Lord & find your strength in Him when you feel like you can't take it any more & have no place to turn. You also wouldn't experience the thrill of discovering that He will come through for you & that He can supply the strength you need to carry on.

38. There are so many advantages to having problems & difficulties! As Grandpa has taught us‚ sometimes it's the only way the Lord can get us to stop & look to Him‚ or to get us to yield to Him, or to stop us from doing something wrong. He uses our trials & difficulties to humble us, to teach us patience‚ to help us not be self-righteous & to be more merciful on others. We appreciate our brothers & sisters a lot more, as we see how much they really love us & care for us, which in turn makes us love them even more. Above all, we learn more trust & faith in the Lord than ever before, because He never fails when we desperately call out to Him! We often love the Lord more than ever after a time of trial & testing, as we realise He's the One Who has brought us through time & again!

39. So in the Lord's eyes there's really no excuse for getting bitter about problems or difficulties, past or present. Those things have been allowed by the Lord to make us better & not bitter. It's the Devil's purpose to try to make us bitter, but the Lord's purpose is to try to make us better through it. The question is: Are we going to yield to becoming better?—Or are we going to become hard & be bitter? Are we going to go God's way of overcoming & triumphing & happiness, or are we going to go the Devil's way of bitterness & discontent & finally destruction?—Because bitterness can completely destroy you & any of the wonderful plans that the Lord has for your life. (See Heb.12:15.)

The Lord Can Fix It!

40. Now don't get me wrong: In saying that you need to take the responsibility for overcoming your present problems, I'm not at all saying that things & people in your past could not have adversely* affected you & influenced you‚ or even caused you problems. It's quite possible that some things that happened when you were growing up did to a certain extent cause some of the problems you are now facing. But the point I'm trying to make is that now, regardless of why you have a problem‚ or who is to blame, you can do something about it.—Not blame others & wallow in self-pity, but take the responsibility & go on the attack & ask the Lord to work those problems out. You may have even made wrong decisions because of past problems, but now you can resolve the situation by turning around & making the right decisions & choosing what is positive & good! The Lord can make all things new.

41. He wants us to forgive & forget & take the responsibility for doing something about the problems. We're to forget the past & we're to forget our bitterness, our resentment, our blaming things on others. Perhaps it was their fault, perhaps it wasn't. But His Word says to just forget all of that & look to Him to take care of it all! He wants you‚ His child‚ to be happy, & for "your joy to be full," & He knows that only in forgetting past hurts & forgiving those who have wronged you will this be possible.

42. "This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, & reaching forth unto those things which are before‚ I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."—Phil.3:13-14.

43. "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight‚ & the sin which doth so easily beset us, & let us run with patience the race that is set before us‚ looking unto Jesus‚ the author & finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, & is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied & faint in your minds."—Heb.12:1-3.

Bear Ye One Another's Burdens!—Good Reasons for Talking It Over!

44. The Bible says that it's good to forget the past, "forgetting those things which are behind."—Phil.3:13. But it also says, "Bear ye one another's burdens."—Gal.6:2. When it comes to getting rid of bitterness, these two verses have a definite relationship; they go very much hand in hand. Can you see why?—Because one of the best ways to forget the things which are in the past, & not have negative thoughts about them popping up all the time, is to share those past experiences with one of your loving Shepherds or counsellors or parents, & talk about it & pray about it with them. Once you've gotten things out & have faced your fears & your negative thoughts‚ & have been counselled through the Word & prayer, you can much more easily forsake them & forget them. We're encouraged in the Word to seek help & support from "the elders of the church" (Jam. 5:14a) & to "confess our faults one to another‚ & pray one for another, that we may be healed."—Jam.5:16a. 1Cor.12:26a says, "And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it."

45. Bitterness can often arise from things which we see or hear or that happen to us that we don't understand. Often the solutions & the help that we need in understanding why things have happened or are happening can come about through taking the time to honestly explain our questions & problems to our Shepherds or someone who can help us. Many things can come up as problems simply because there may be some misunderstanding involved—something that is misunderstood on our part or on someone else's part—& the solutions may be as easy to come by as simply explaining our feelings & battles to the right person.

46. At other times, the problems or the solutions may not be so simple, & may take more than just a talk, but that's always a good place to start, because then you can get the comfort, encouragement & understanding that you need. You receive extra spiritual strength & help through someone else's prayers & counsel, as well as direction on how to use the Word to wage your warfare against the Enemy's tricks.

47. Sometimes we can be tempted to feel that we don't want to dredge up things from the past, & that if we do, it will only make ourselves or others feel worse. But if it bothers us at all, we should. And the amazing thing is that when we talk about bitterness we have toward others or problems we've had or have, we often will find that the problem just stems from a misunderstanding.—Not always‚ but frequently there is a misconception* or misinterpretation* involved. But how do you know until you can openly talk about it? How does anyone know about it until someone is brave enough to talk to someone else about it?

When Things Really Do Go Wrong

48. Bitterness caused by a misunderstanding on your own part is relatively easy to clear up with open discussion & prayer. But what if you've been hurt & it wasn't just your imagination?—It wasn't just because you misunderstood the person's motives? Maybe you received an unjustified punishment, or maybe you didn't understand when your Mom & Dad separated when you were little, or maybe something else very difficult happened to you. It was very real & very painful & you can't change what happened. Well, even then, to talk about it with someone, to share the burden with someone & to have prayer & see what the Lord has to say to you through His Word, & to try to see the Romans 8:28 of it—all that makes everything go better.

49. Also, if you can talk about it with the other people who were involved, sometimes understanding the reasons why they did what they did will be a big help in lessening your hurt & helping you to forgive them. The Bible says a lot about "reasoning together" (Isa.1:18)‚ & encourages us to make an effort by going to our brother when we need to be reconciled with him (Mat.5:23-24, 18:15).

50. Doing all of these things can radically alter* the way you look at things or the way you feel about things. But if you don't bring them up & talk about them, how do you get the help? You can take it to the Lord, & that's good & that certainly helps. But the Lord has put us all here to help each other & to bear each other's burdens.

51. If you're still muddled, after taking it to the Lord yourself personally, don't be condemned & don't be surprised. Often it's much harder to hear from the Lord directly than to hear from Him through other people. You often can't hear as clearly from the Lord when it's just you & the Lord as you can when there's someone else praying with you, & together you're asking the Lord for an answer. "Where two or three are gathered together in My Name‚ there am I in the midst of them."—Mat.18:20.

52. Perhaps this is because most of us just aren't that attuned to the Lord, we're not sensitive enough to really hear clearly what He wants to say to us, so He uses people to help in that process. "In the multitude of counsellors, there is safety."—Pro.11:14b. He could have made us all more sensitive to His leadings, but that's not His plan. His plan is for us to "bear one another's burdens" & so fulfil His law of love (Gal.6:2)‚ & to be His instruments of love for each other. He wants us to lean on each other in this way‚ because "two are better than one‚ because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow."—Ecc.4:9,10a. He wants to make us stronger together by exercising the love we have for each other in this way. (See Rom. 12:10; 1Jn.3:16; Eph.4:3; Phil.2:1-4.)

A Lot Depends on Your Personal Point of View

53. There are literally* hundreds of normal, natural things in life that could be looked upon by some people as being very positive, but which others could resent if they did not take it the right way.—Take a rainy day, for a simple example. Some might resent it & complain about it, but others may think it's a real blessing, to water their crops or their grass. Sometimes something that one person would jump at the chance to do & be very thankful for, such as moving to a new location, another person could hate & be resentful of. So anything can become a source of bitterness‚ even things that would be good & happy things for someone else‚ or things which aren't really bad. It often depends on how you take events or circumstances.

54. On the other hand, there are some things that are not merely a matter of personal attitude. There are some things that we would all agree are not good or desirable in the natural sense: A physical handicap, a car accident, a house burning down, etc. If you have a physical handicap, that is something that has obviously caused you a lot of pain. It's not your imagination, & it's very natural for you to be sad about it, but even this does not have to make you bitter. You can make your handicap a bridge to greater things, & a wonderful, happy, precious, sweet spirit, as teen Heidi & blind Stevie have done, to name only two of our precious Family young people. (See Prayer List No.3 about Heidi, & GN 524 about Stevie, GBT!)

55. If they could overcome such difficulties & accept these afflictions as actual gifts from the Lord which have done wonderful things in their lives & made them into special people, exceptional people with beautiful spirits‚ gifted in many ways & a tremendous encouragement to others, how much more should we be willing to look upon our small "handicaps" as stepping stones to a better life?—As a ladder to climb even higher than we would be able to without them?—As an opportunity to turn our weaknesses into strengths?

Mama's Personal Experience

56. I know that the affliction that I have in my eyes isn't exactly an "overcoming the past" problem, but finding the Romans 8:28 in any of our problems or afflictions is very closely related to not being bitter. After all‚ anything that's happened before this present moment is part of the past. Whether it's the very recent past or the distant past, & whether it's something physical that you are born with, or some emotional hurt that was caused by someone else, it's still something that you can get bitter over & need to overcome.

57. The Lord has allowed me to experience an eye affliction, & the many precious lessons He has been teaching me through it & the reasons why He has allowed me to suffer it are outlined in the following Letters: "Prayer for Mama's Eyes," ML#2326; "Prayer & Answer for Mama's Eyes‚" ML#2332; "More on Mama's Eyes," ML#2333. Below are a few of the reasons why the Lord has said that He has allowed this to happen to me:

  1. To force me to train others.
  2. To get me to talk more & give out more.
  3. To keep me from leaning on the arm of the flesh.
  4. To help me to depend more on the Lord.
  5. To shut my eyes to the physical World so I can see the spiritual World more clearly.
  6. To help me to better understand the afflictions of others.
  7. To cause me to seek the Lord for more answers about healing.
  8. To get the whole Family to pray more desperately.
  9. To be an encouragement to others who have afflictions but haven't been healed yet.

The dictionary defines resentment as: "anger or ill will in view of real or imagined wrong or injury", & bitterness as: "anguished, long–standing resentment". Nelson's Bible dictionary defines bitterness as "a spiritual poisoning, great wickedness," so it is much worse than resentment. Bitterness is not just from an annoyance‚ an irritation, or something that we simply don't like. It is a strong negative feeling which we have allowed to remain in the heart. With time it grows & grows, festering like an infected wound, poisoning & strangling our spiritual life.

Resentment & Bitterness: What's the Difference?

58. Bitterness is not something that usually happens quickly, as it usually takes some time to fester & grow, like an infection in a wound. Not every little thing that happens to us which we don't like or resent grows into bitterness‚ unless we allow it to be fed by the Devil's poisons, & then allow it to spread.

59. Most of the things which happen to us that we don't feel happy about are a little like bruises or minor scrapes would be to your body. If you're like most people, you may even experience a few deep wounds or "serious injuries" to your spirit or your body at some time in your lifetime. We can't always prevent ourselves from being hurt, even physically; however, if we do get hurt, it's seldom very serious, thank the Lord! He protects us so wonderfully & we have such a happy life, compared with others outside the Family! And we know from the Word that when He does allow us to suffer any hurts or trials or losses, it's always for a very important purpose. He also very carefully weighs our burdens so that they are not too much for us to bear, only enough to bring out the sweetness & valuable changes & lessons in our lives.

60. Most of the time, injuries to our bodies only hurt for a while. In the same way, most of our daily annoyances are like bruises to our spirits or our feelings or our pride.—They hurt for a little bit, but that causes us to pray for the Lord's help, & to remember the lessons that we are learning from them. We may get a little "black" with negative thinking about them, or "blue" with discouragement‚ but we're usually able to forget them fairly quickly & we don't go around "nursing them" to get sympathy for ourselves‚ especially if we believe that the Lord is going to heal them without any problem.

61. If our body gets cut or hurt seriously, we go to someone who can tend to our wound properly right away, & we have all the dirt washed out, disinfect it of any germs, & get it properly bandaged so that it's protected from any further dirt or germs entering in. Sometimes we need to have it checked regularly to make sure it's healing properly, clean out any new dirt or germs that may have gotten in, & have a clean bandage put on. If we do get seriously hurt, it often takes some time to heal, during which time we may need more rest & more help from others than usual.

62. Our real spiritual battles are like serious cuts or wounds: We need to report them so someone can help us to clean them out with the Word, disinfect them of the Enemy's lies with counsel & prayer, & put on protective bandages of safeguards & other means of help & counsel which our Shepherds can give us. If we try to hide them & don't get them properly taken care of‚ even if we try to wash out the dirt ourselves‚ we can't always cleanse them of all the Enemy's germs without someone else to help us. When germs are allowed to grow, they create an infection. If the infection is not taken care of properly & quickly, its poisons can spread to the blood, quickly causing blood poisoning, which is serious & life-threatening.

63. This is a pretty good illustration of how our spiritual wounds can easily heal with faith, prayer & proper care, thank the Lord! But if we don't allow them to be cleansed & healed in the proper way, or if we don't cooperate with those who are trying to help us, or if we try to hide our uncleaned wounds, they can become polluted with the Devil's poisons which can spread & quickly poison the whole body! The Enemy's doubts can pollute the flow of God's good life–giving Word, which will also affect our spiritual life, our fruitfulness & our faith.

64. When we get hurt by battles with resentment or discontentment‚ we can be healed with the Lord's Word & shepherding care & prayer. If we don't get these smaller problems taken care of‚ however‚ our small wounds can turn into ugly festering sores if we welcome in all the Devil's dirty garbage on top of it & allow him to rub it in! Infections are much harder to clean & heal than normal sores, & usually require more outside help from others. They also are much more painful, & drain more energy from the whole body than a small sore or wound. Infections can even get so bad that the affected part of the body may have to be amputated, because the real danger is that they can quickly spread to even threaten your life itself. Bitterness is like the Devil's infectious mess, festering & silently destroying healthy areas it comes in contact with, & capable of circulating to poison others or the whole body if it's not stopped & purged out.

65. Therefore, just as we should immediately pay careful & diligent attention to a physical cut or scrape or minor injury, we should immediately take care of any spiritual wounds, real or imagined, which bother us. By going on the attack against any resentment or discontentment before it grows & spreads, the Lord can clean out the sore spot "through the washing of regeneration & renewing of the Holy Ghost."—Tit.3:5. With prayer, the Word, counsel, & a determined effort to "lay aside every weight & the sin which doth so easily beset us," the Lord will heal the problem & give beautiful victory!

"Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you."—Jn.15:3.

"But ye are washed‚ but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, & by the Spirit of our God."—1Cor. 6:11.

"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, & our bodies washed with pure water."—Heb.10:22.

"Unto Him that loved us, & washed us from our sins in His Own blood."—Rev.1:5b.


1. Name some different situations where Jesus found Himself confronted* with someone who was doing wrong to Him, & describe how He reacted. How did the Apostles Paul or Peter react in the face of opposition* or hindrances?—Or other Bible characters such as Moses‚ King David, or Stephen? Discuss how these Bible heroes overcame situations where they could have become full of anger & vengeance.

2. The next time you think about blaming a brother or sister or your parents, who believe in Jesus, stop & think about Jesus & how He has forgiven all of us for the terrible things we've done. Would you be bitter & angry at the faults of others if you remembered how the Lord looks at their sins? In fact, He even died so we could all have forgiveness & a new start. Does this make it easier for you to forgive others?

3. The Enemy will always try to fight your sharing your heart about things that bother you. Why does he feel so threatened when we open up our hearts to others?

4. Although talking about things is often needed & usually bears good fruit, there may be some circumstances when it would not be good to talk about your negative feelings about people or situations. Look at the following list & discuss whether or not these might be good situations to share your heart in. Why or why not?

a.) With a parent or foster parent?

b.) With a Shepherd?

c.) With a talk-time partner?

d.) With a friend who has the same problem?

e.) In front of your peers?

f.) With a close friend?

g.) With a peer or adult visiting from another Home?

h.) In an open pow-wow with your group?

i.) With the person who you feel has offended you?

j.) With someone who you know has a tendency to be negative?

k.) With someone who you know will always stand up for you & "take your side"?

l.) With a visiting friend of the Family?

5. When you go to talk to someone who has offended you, your motive in talking with him or her is not to start a bigger argument, but to clear up a problem between you, as Jesus advises us to do in Mat.5:22-24. Please discuss tips or ways to go about approaching someone in a situation like this. What can you say? What sort of spirit should you go in?

6. Grandpa has always been a wonderful example of someone who continually tries to bring out the positive side to all situations, faithfully pointing out the Romans 8:28 in situations & searching for whatever lessons there are to be learned. Can you name some examples of Letters where he's done this?

Here are some to get you started:

* "Did God Make a Mistake?" (ML#35, DB4)

* "The Benefits of Backsliding!" (ML#312, DB6)

* "The Advantages of a Handicap, No.2!" (ML#1937, DB3)

* "God's School of Submission!" (ML#2225‚ DB 8)

7. Can you think of any problems that you have had in the past or have in the present that you can now see the Romans 8:28 in? Can you think of the specific ways that it has been good for you?

8. Can you think of examples of Bible heroes or men & women in the past who had handicaps to overcome, & what effect it had upon them? Below are a few. Can you name some more?

* Doctor Moon (LOG Vol.II, pg.395)

* Pandita Ramabai (ML#215, "Birthday Warning!")

* George Matheson (ML#399:55-58, "MO's Music"; "Good Thots" Vol.2‚ pg.1703)

* Helen Keller (LOG Vol.II, pg.396)

* Fanny Crosby (LOG Vol.II, pg.402-416)

* The Apostle Paul (Gal.4:15b)

9. Many people in the Family have overcome great obstacles, handicaps & setbacks in their lives, gotten the victory & have gone on for the Lord instead of becoming bitter. Below we have listed just a few, but there are many more unnamed heroic loved ones bravely giving their 100% daily in the face of great difficulties! God bless them all!

* Zion & his deaf ministry (FSM 35, pg.20)

* Michael (paraplegic, see GP Testimony Tracts T7-T7d, "Where There's a Will, There's a Way!—With God's Help!")

* Hananiah Ironsides (born with serious birth defects, see LIN 72, pg.6)

* Victoria (polio victim, LIN 33, pg.3)

* Paz (crippled‚ with ten children‚ see LIN 47, pg.3)

* Becky YA (serious injuries from brain hemorrhage‚ see PL2 & 3)

* Elizabeth Grey (stroke, see PL5)

10. Is there a better way to free ourselves from the effects of bitterness than seeking to punish the person who hurt or offended us?

11. Worldlings & many psychiatrists take a very negative view of life, telling us to "look back & blame‚" but what does Jesus & the Word say about the past?

12. What verses can you give that encourage people to forgive & not to hold grudges, or be bitter & blame others? Does God remember all our sins & keep reminding us of them?

13. Recently some very worldly, backslidden teens have said they feel bitter that they were not able to have freedom to do whatever they wanted, weren't able to have their own phone, or car, or the food they wanted, etc. They are now claiming that they were mistreated & their lives were damaged because they couldn't have these things.

Do you think people in the System are able to have anything they want? Do you think most people in the System nowadays are rich enough to "be free" to spend money on "wants‚" or are they often struggling to keep or find jobs so they can barely earn enough money to pay their rent‚ doctor, medical bills, utility, schooling, insurance, taxes, retirement fund, car payments, transportation bills, & buy their most important necessities?

Do you think that people are being "hurt" if they do not have all the things they want? What does your personal attitude have to do with whether or not something harms or hinders you?

14. People who are bitter or resentful are often proud & feel that they deserve more recognition or honour than they have received. It is interesting that many of our backsliders were jealous of the leadership of others, & resentful that the Family did not "recognise" them enough or give them a chance to be "stars" in the Family. However, in some situations, the Enemy has now given them a chance to be famous (or infamous!), to travel around the World, to be sought after & listened to & agreed with by others, at least for a while, while he uses them to try to harm the Family. How has this fame they now experience changed their way of looking at things that happened to them in the Family? If things that happened to them in the past were not really harmful to them, would they want to admit that now? Why not?

15. Name some other reasons why teen backsliders would not want to admit that life in the Family wasn't really harmful at all; in fact‚ it was good.

  1. Because of peer pressure‚ to be accepted by people they are now with in the System.
  2. To justify to themselves or others why they left the Family.
  3. To keep from feeling sorry or missing the blessings, people & happy times, or their life in the Family.
  4. To be able to blame others for any problems they have in the present.

Any more you can think of?

16. "Alice & the Magic Garden" is a good illustration of how the Devil can tempt us with his evil seeds of rebellion or disunity when we are resentful & murmuring. (See ML #290.) However, we don't have to sow these seeds. Even if we do & we see giant beanstalk weeds starting to grow‚ we can quickly ask for the Father's help to chop down the evil weeds before the giants can get in! It's better to be honest about your battles & troubles when you first get them, & not wait until they've grown & become more harmful to you or others. How would the story of Alice have turned out if she had asked for help when she first had her battles with jealousy & resentment? What should she have done then?


From Mama Maria:

How did Jesus handle those who wronged Him? What was His attitude in the midst of difficulties, tribulations, & persecutions? In spite of the persecution that Jesus experienced, & the things that His enemies did to Him‚ how did He see their actions? What was His response to their actions?

No matter what they did to Him, He chose how their actions would ultimately affect Him spiritually & emotionally. He said, "They don't take My life from Me, but I give it up of Myself." (See Jn.10:18.) We, like Jesus, have the power to choose how things affect us‚ to be overcomers‚ to be conquerors!

"Who shall separate us from the Love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us."—Rom.8:35-37.

"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed."—2Cor.4:8,9.

The Letter "God's Pictures" (DB 1, pg.428) tells how the Lord can heal & cleanse our wounds. For a feeding Word time, read this Letter & think about how the advice in it relates to bitterness.

"Fixing It" the Modern Way

Human nature has always been tempted with thoughts of prideful revenge. Modern Man is taught by the media* & many in modern psychiatry* that bitterness is natural & even in some ways a desirable reaction, & that expressing your hostility* & seeking justice or revenge for yourself is a good way to get rid of your negative feelings. Ungodly psychiatrists have even made up theories about the cause of bad behaviour (which really just comes from Man's sinful nature)‚ & these theories encourage people to be bitter & seek revenge. Their solution is to dig it all up & dump it on others.

One result of this today is that many disagreeable things which people in the past would have considered normal difficulties of life, simply to be overcome, are now considered by some to be so bad that they feel that only by their getting personal revenge & taking those they're blaming to court about it will "things get better." In the times we live in‚ there are many new problems that are practically "man-made"!—Which the Enemy tries to use to encourage people to feel bitter about.—Things they didn't even worry about before, which are now accumulating as more problems on top of ones they already had. (—Don't let it happen to you!—Seek Jesus!—D.)


Prepare a five or ten-minute talk about bitterness to present to your study group. You could call it "Millstones or Milestones," "Wings out of Weights" or some other title that expresses that idea. Share lessons about turning failure into success, the lemons of life into lemonade, the optimistic attitude, discovering the Romans 8:28 in something that looked like a loss. You can use experiences you have had, testimonies you have heard from other people, or anecdotes from the Letters, the Bible or other publications.

Good Verses to Claim

"Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but Thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for Thou hast cast all my sins behind Thy back."—Isa.38:17.

"Search me, O God, & know my heart: try me, & know my thoughts: & see if there be any wicked way in me, & lead me in the way everlasting."—Psa.139:23,24.

"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."—Rom.8:26.

"But thanks be to God‚ which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."—1Cor. 15:57.

"Let the words of my mouth, & the meditation of my heart‚ be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, & my redeemer."—Psa.19:14.


(Now that you've stocked up on the Word, counsel, & the Lord's solutions, you can pray & ask the Lord for His supernatural deliverance of any weight or hindrance which could be bothering you. For this purpose we've included the following beautiful prayer from the compilation "Bitterness," ML #2672:174-197.)

LORD JESUS, Your Word says that when we look unto You‚ we are lightened: And our faces are not ashamed.—And that when this poor man cries out to You, that You will hear me & save me & deliver me out of all my troubles! (Psa.34:5‚6)

So Lord‚ I call on You now with a whole heart, & I ask You to hear & answer & deliver me‚ in Jesus' name! I realise that these roots of bitterness are like a deadly infection, so I ask You right now to uproot & take them all away! Please rid me of any doubts or fears or resentments or hurts about the past, or even about things that are happening right now, & give me faith to just let it all go into Your care.—To cast all my cares upon You because You care for me! (1Pet.5:7)

If I still hang on to any such roots, even little roots, Lord, in the back of my heart‚ I know the Devil will play on them & aggravate* them. So I rebuke the Enemy in this bitterness & this lack of trusting You, & I rebuke any unyieldedness to You! Help me just to be a yielded vessel & not try to be the clay saying to the Potter, "Why hast Thou made me thus?" or "Why have You done this to me & treated me this way & allowed this thing to happen that I resent!"—Or "Why are You doing these things to me right now?" Please help me to just be yielded, a yielded broken vessel, one that's willing to do anything for You!

Forgive me for all my sins, & help me not to criticise You & the way You're running my life. Help me not to ever think that I'm in any way more righteous than You, that I would do things better than You could have done. Please forgive me for all my murmuring & doubting! It's such a terrible sin, Lord‚ because my bitterness is really against You! Please help me to stop it!

Murmuring is really complaining that You're doing things wrong, which means I think I could do them better, that I'm more righteous than You are, Lord, which is self-righteousness, a terrible sin. Forgive me & help me to trust You more. You know best about all these things, & You're going to have Your way & it's all going to work out for the best in the long run for me, because I love You.

So forgive me, Lord, for all my murmurings & complainings & gripings & growlings & groanings & bellyaching & criticisms! Help me to learn to be truly thankful, & to "in everything give thanks" (1Thes.5:18), to praise You in all things, & be thankful for what I've got, because things could certainly be a whole lot worse!

I praise You for the life You've given me!—For Your Love & a place in Your Family! Forgive me for when I've murmured & complained & grouched & growled & grumbled about this or that little thing when I thought I should have been treated better or deserved more. Forgive me, Jesus! Help me to be more thankful & to praise You for all Your goodness & mercy instead of murmuring & complaining & growling & grumbling & griping about the little tests & trials that You've allowed to come my way.

Help me to always praise You!—Even when the Devil comes along with his growlings & gripings‚ help me to confront him with praise, to shout & sing praises to You, Lord‚ & thanksgiving for all Your goodness & mercy & Love & provision & protection & all this wonderful life that You've given me to live for You & for others.—The best & greatest life in the World & with the greatest dividends in Heaven, in Jesus' name! Thank You Lord! Praise the Lord!

Thank You for this beautiful life, this wonderful World & this wonderful Work! Thank You Jesus for it all! Help me never to complain or murmur or gripe or bellyache or go around poisoning other people with my complaints & murmurs! You really are sick of that kind of thing & that kind of people, & I know from Your Word that You just will not put up with them! You slaughtered millions of people out in the desert who did it & You only let their children inherit the Kingdom!

So please strengthen me with Your Word & the Sword of Your Spirit that I may be able to truly resist & fight the Enemy! Help me to be properly armed against all the fiery darts of the Evil One & his doubts & criticisms & lies & murmurs & resentments & "poor-me's" & all the demonic fiery darts of the Devil!

And help me not to fight nor resist whatever it is that You want to use to break me & humble me & draw & keep me close to You. I know that You know what's best for me, even if it doesn't always seem best for me, Lord! You just want to see if I'm willing to trust You & believe You & believe that "All things truly do work together for good to them that love Thee"!—Rom.8:28.

I know that things will be a lot easier if I just accept what You've done in my life in the past & what You're trying to do in my life right now. I know it'll be easier if I accept the breakings & the chastisements & the lessons & all of these things, if I don't fight against them, if I just yield. Help me not to give the Devil an inch, not to allow even one tiny root or offshoot of bitterness to remain in my heart!

I know that I cannot expect Your blessing & protection when I run away from You, out of Your Will, even spiritually in thought. So keep me close to You with pure & positive thoughts of You & Your Word!

Help me, Lord, to watch my thoughts & watch my words & to fill my heart & mind with You & Your Word so that I'll be well-protected & fortified* & surrounded by Your Angels of protection & Your Guardian Angels that care for Your children all the time.

And please renew me with Your wonderful Spirit of Love! Please fill me with Your Holy Spirit, that I may have a heart full of Your Love. Your Word says, "Above all things have fervent love one toward another."—1Pet.4:8. Please help me not to condemn or judge others in pride or self-righteousness.

Please give me more of Your Love, Your patience‚ Your humility‚ which is synonymous* with love—littleness in my own eyes. Give me sweetness & love for others. Help me to mete unto other men's bosoms as I want You to mete unto me. Help me to truly forgive other men's sins as You have forgiven me‚ to have mercy upon others as You have had mercy upon me.

Guard me from the Devil who goeth about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. I know he is the one who stands day & night accusing Your Saints & trying to divide, trying to subvert, propagandising & lying & causing doubts & fears & casting fiery darts of hate & resentment.

Help me to be more like You‚ Jesus!—And help me not to be like the Enemy—the Accuser of the Saints, the harsh, the cruel, the devourer! Help me to be forgiving & patient, & to have mercy as I want mercy, & to treat others in their errors as I want You to treat me in mine!

Help me to truly forgive all those against whom I have felt offended or resentful or bitter. I sincerely pray that now, regarding all of those who may have offended me or failed me or made mistakes, who somehow affected or hurt or upset me. Please help me to forgive. I ask You to please forgive me. "Forgive me my sins as I forgive those who have sinned against me."—Luk.11:4.

Lord, help me to be more simple & childlike in these things! Your Word says, "In understanding be ye men, but in malice be ye children."—1Cor.14:20. So even if I'm offended sometimes, help me to let it go & forget it right away. Help me not to hold things against people, to not stay offended! Help me to cut these sensitive thoughts off before they have a chance to become any kind of bitterness. Help me to truly forgive & forget & love. Help me to keep my life as simple as I can, to live simply & try not to be complicated‚ trying to keep track of how I've been offended & by whom‚ etc.

Help me now, & deliver & uproot any & all evil seeds or roots of bitterness, envy or hate!—That I might be delivered & freed & be all the freer to go ahead with even greater conviction to get the job done that You have called me to do!—Help me to "lay aside every weight & the sin which doth so easily beset me," that I may truly run Your race, for Your glory.

I know, Lord, that this is not just something that I do once & for all, but I have to constantly be forsaking all these temptations & negative thoughts in my heart, all the time forsaking the old ways & laying aside these weights & hindrances. Every day I've got to forsake the Devil's voice & temptations which try to call me back & suck me back into the old ways & the old habits & bondages, so help me to do that, & keep fighting! Thank You, Lord, for delivering me!—In Jesus' name, amen.

"Let the wicked forsake his way, & the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, & He will have mercy upon him; & to our God, for He will abundantly pardon."—Isa.55:7.

"For it is better to hearken unto the voice of thy Lord than to dwell in the fields of bitterness! It is better to follow thy God than to follow the words of Man."


(From the World Book Dictionary)

adverse: unfavourable, harmful

aggravate: make worse, make more burdensome

clique: a small group of people that excludes others

complacent: pleased with oneself or satisfied with what one has

confront: to meet face to face

environment: all the surrounding circumstances & influences affecting someone's growth or development

excluded: shut out, kept from entering in

fortified: strengthened & protected against attack

hostility: feeling enmity, the opposite of friendliness

humorist: a professional writer or entertainer specialising in humour or jokes

insurmountable: something that cannot be overcome

literally: true without any exaggeration

meander: wander aimlessly

media: the various forms of mass communication, such as newspapers, television & radio (the plural of "medium")

misconception: a mistaken idea‚ a wrong concept

misinterpretation: something explained wrongly‚ misunderstood

opposition: resistance, antagonism

peer: a person of the same rank, ability, or quality as another, someone who is equal to him

psychiatry: the branch of medicine that attempts to deal with emotional & mental disorders

radically alter: change in a fundamental way‚ drastically transform

siblings: flesh brothers & sisters

synonymous: a word that means almost the same as another word

taunt: mock‚ ridicule