Jack Zavada of Inspiration-for-Singles.com is well acquainted with the unique challenges that single life can present, including the subtle but sinister trap of bitterness.
Maybe you've slipped into the bitterness trap unaware. You have wanted to get married for some time now. You have even told God that you deserve to be happy and in love. But no matter how hard you've prayed, God doesn't seem to care.
Offered as part of our resources for Christian singles, Jack Zavada uncovers three important reasons to avoid bitterness and then presents three steps to climb free from bitterness.
3 Reasons to Avoid BitternessWhen you're not married but you want to be, it's very easy to become bitter.
Christians hear sermons on how obedience brings blessings, and you wonder why God won't bless you with a spouse. You obey God to the best of your ability, you pray that you'll meet the right person, and yet it doesn't happen.
It's even tougher when friends or relatives have happy marriages and children. You ask, "Why not me, God? Why can't I have what they have?"
Long term frustration can lead to anger, and anger can degenerate into bitterness. Often you don't even realize you've slipped into a resentful attitude. If that's happened to you, here are three good reasons to get out of that trap.
Bitterness Damages Your Relationship With God
Bitterness can put you in an adversarial relationship with God. You blame him because you're not married and think he's punishing you for some reason. That's dead wrong, because Scripture says God is not only enormously in love with you, but that his love is constant and unconditional.
God wants to help you, not hurt you: "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)
Your intimate, personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the source of your strength when things are going wrong. Bitterness forgets hope. Bitterness misdirects your focus onto your problem, instead of on God.
Bitterness Alienates You From Other People
If you want to be married, a bitter attitude can scare off a potential spouse. Think about it. Who wants to become involved with a person who is nasty and cynical? You wouldn't want a spouse with those qualities, would you?
Your bitterness inadvertently punishes your family and friends. Eventually they'll get tired of tiptoeing around your touchiness, and they'll just leave you alone. Then you'll be more lonely than ever.
Like God, they love you and want to help. They want the best for you, but bitterness pushes them away. They're not to blame. They're not your enemy. Your true enemy, the one who is telling you that you have every right to be bitter, is Satan. Discouragement and bitterness are two of his favorite ways to draw you away from God.
Bitterness Detours You From Your Best Self
You're not a negative, harsh person. You don't snap at people, put yourself down, and refuse to see any good in life. That's just not you, but you've taken a detour from your best self. You've gotten onto the wrong road.
Besides being on the wrong road, you've got a sharp pebble in your shoe, but you're too stubborn to stop and remove it. Shaking out that pebble and getting back on the right road takes a conscious decision on your part. You are the only one who can end your bitterness, but you have to choose to do it.
3 Steps to Freedom from Bitterness
You take the first step by going to God and asking him to be in charge of your justice. You've been hurt and you want justice, but that's his job, not yours. He is the One who makes things right. When you return that responsibility to him, you'll feel a heavy load come off your back.
You take the second step by thanking God for all the good things you have. By concentrating on the positive instead of the negative, you'll gradually find joy returning to your life. When you understand that bitterness is a choice, you'll learn to reject it and choose peace and contentment instead.
You take the last step by enjoying and loving other people again. There's nothing more attractive than a joy-filled, loving person. When you make that the emphasis of your life, who knows what good things might happen?
Jack Zavada, a career writer and contributor for About.com, is host to a Christian Web site for singles. Never married, Jack feels that the hard-won lessons he has learned may help other Christian singles make sense of their lives. His articles and ebooks offer great hope and encouragement. To contact him or for more information, visit Jack's Bio Page.