We must learn to let go of anger and bitterness

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By Bea Wallen

As many of you know we had a son who was murdered in August 1984.

The past 27 years has not always been easy for our family because of the grief and pain this radical loss has brought into our lives.  Not only for my husband and I but for his young wife Cindy.

Bobby was only 24 years old at the time of his death.

The way he had to die was the grief that paralyzed us. His throat was cut and severed the juggler vein and main artery. Surgery was performed but unsuccessful, because of the loss of blood and lack of blood getting to the brain he went brain dead. He lived for 10 days on life support as we watched a once strong, healthy, athletic son turn into a lifeless corpse.

It was not an easy time for our family.

We didn’t believe justice was done for the man who took his life because after just a few years he was back out in society again. I never really knew the true facts of why, of how this all happened and I never had a chance to talk to this man. I just had to leave it to God, but it wasn’t easy. Bitterness is anger that can settle in for a long time. It is anger that can birth resentment. It can eat its way deep into our mind, emotions and even out soul.

A radical loss can cause a radical grief. A bitterness of spirit left unchecked can eat its way into the core of our spirit. I believe there is a time to be alone and work through our grief but we must be careful not to become obsessed and embittered with it until it robs us of the joy our spirit longs for.

Saying all this we now have learned that the man who took our son’s like has lost his life due to cancer. Is this God’s vengeance? Who are we to judge? I only know what the Bible says in Romans 12:17-19, “Repay no one evil for evil.  Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible as much as depends on you live peaceably with all men. Beloved do not avenge yourselves but rather give place to wrath for it is written vengeance is Mine, I will repay says the Lord.”

A certain person called me on the phone asking me if I knew the man who took our son’s life had now also lost his life. I  assured her that I knew. Then she asked me if this brings closure for me. So I explained to her how I felt.

“No death brings closure to me, for death brings grief to any family that is experiencing the loss of a loved one.” Also it is my desire to see everyone turn from sin to repent and be saved through salvation. I don’t know if this man had that kind of remorse and was forgiven but I pray he did.  The Bible commands us to forgive others when they have wronged us and to see forgiveness when we have wronged others. We must do this to follow the example of God who extends to us the ultimate pardon, forgiveness of our sins. Forgiveness is not based on the magnitude of the sin but the magnitude of God’s complete and unconditional love.

When we forgive it frees us from the slavery of anger and bitterness. “Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9). I learned many years ago to let go of bitterness before it can harden your heart and destroy you. The Bible tells us to let go of bitterness and anger, forgiving one another. See Ephesians 4:31-32..

There are simple times when simple forgiveness can relieve a lifetime of bitterness. Recovery from acute bitterness may be as complex as the reasons for the bitterness, but it may also be as simple as the three spoken words. I forgive you.

From my heart