It amazes me how quickly someone will totally sever relationship with another person who they have been very close with for years over a hurt or offense. It is as if they have this “delete” button in their brain that they choose to push that erases all the good times, meaningful conversations, and sacrifices the other person has made for them over the years. All they remember now are all the bad things. As I observe this phenomenon in relationship after relationship over the years I have become very convinced that bitterness is a very toxic poison and it doesn’t take very much of it in the heart of a person to destroy huge amounts of good memories. One of my “sayings” that I repeat as often as people will listen is, “forgive anybody of anything no matter how bad it is, and do it quickly otherwise you will severely damage your own soul”. For some odd reason people think that choosing to hold a grudge is somehow paying a person back for what they have done, it is totally nonsensical. It is like shooting yourself in the foot with a gun, and saying to the person who accidentally stepped on your foot, “so there, take that”. It would be very humorous if the consequences weren’t so serious and severe. Bitterness seems to destroy the ability to think rationally, with wisdom, and insight. Some of my greatest disappointments and hurts in ministry have been from people who I have met and counseled with for months, even years, prayer for, prayed with, gone out to dinner with, taught for hours, made huge sacrifices for, and got very close to, and then have them totally walk out of my life because of something that I said or did that hurt or offended them. Sometimes I can predict who will do that, but most of the time it is a major shocker that bewilders me, hurts and grieves me terribly, and leaves me hesitant to move beyond professional in my relationships with people. Then I remind myself, “don’t get bitter at bitter people”, think and act with love like Jesus. Help me Lord to lead, serve, and love like You.