(This blog was originally written by Amy Maxwell in May 2016.)

2016-05-02_0733The exact place in life where you hold bitterness and refuse to forgive is the place your stand will end.

There is an inverse relationship between bitterness and commitment. Bitterness is a reflection of resignation and a place where I stopped and gave up. Its that exact place that I relinquished the stand I am for the world to the enemy. This is important to see clearly. For example, for many years I refused to forgive my mother for leaving my father. When I married I noticed I have very little bandwidth or compassion or understanding for Max when it appears he is leaving me for something else. Regardless of whether that is true or not. In fact, I can pinpoint exact moments where I interpreted him as leaving me for something and at that same moment thinking,” ok I am done.” As the years went on , “Ok I will leave him too.” Now it’s not that Max was leaving me, its that I had almost no room to hear or understand his choices because the bitterness and unforgiveness I chose closed down my listening and neutrality.

That’s why I think the scripture says : “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
– Hebrews 3:13

Bitterness is the hardening. So we must stand and encourage one another. Now encouragement is more than just saying nice happy things. Encouragement means to infuse courage, offer hope, and support. Part of the value of fellowship is to stand with one another that our bitterness does not take over. Everyone needs to ask the question where does my forgiveness end today, right now, immediately. This is exactly where you have stopped standing!