Not since middle school have I experienced the kind of social drama that I have been experiencing lately. The kind of drama that isn’t overtly obvious, but the kind that tears you up on the inside… a.k.a. plain ol’ bitterness. On a fairly regular basis, I have the pleasure of encountering a certain individual who simply just rubs me the wrong way. Their words always offend me, their actions always provoke me and I can’t seem to escape the cloud of negativity that looms over their very presence.
To make matters worse, this resentment has begun to take up a permanent residence within me. Even when our meetings are trouble-free, my heart remains burdened. Though I may feel justified in my aversion, I am harboring animosity for this individual even when they are nowhere around! I am always plotting my defenses. I am always remembering past wrongs. I am always…merciless.
“When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” – NIV
I have to wonder, when we encounter difficult relationships, could there be something bigger at stake? Satan finds a way to work himself into the most unlikely of situations, but always for a bigger purpose. He has the ability to use the most simple of disruptions to wage an all out spiritual war. When a relationship becomes difficult, and either party begins to sow seeds of bitterness in their hearts, he knows that it hinders our prayers.
There is a direct link between forgiveness in our hearts and the efficiency of our prayers. For those of us who choose to live in animosity, we can’t possibly be in sync with the character of God. Our hearts are only so big; they cannot harbor both resentment and the Spirit.
Like it or not, when we do not forgive, we are making conscious choices to harbor bitterness instead of the Father.