In our ongoing study of overcoming bitterness, we have learned that we must be willing to examine our own heart and be honest about the ways that we have sinned against others. This is important for us as we must look to the log in our own eye before attempting to pick out the speck in someone else's eye.
Even when you are the wronged party in a situation, there is always the possibility that your response to being wronged is sinful. Your goal is to bring God glory in all facets of your life, and you are to display Christ through how you live it. (2 Cor. 4:10)
1 Peter 3:14-17 says, "But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong."
I often use this passage when helping bitter women who cannot understand why they need to confess and apologize for anything! They are often fearful that to admit they have done anything wrong is to invite more abuse or more pain into their lives. Admittedly, sometimes that does happen. However the larger principle is that God is glorified and it is always better to suffer for doing what is right than to suffer for doing what is wrong.
In a previous entry, I said that there are times when confession is only to be made between you and the Lord. This would be when the person you have sinned against is unaware of it. Often bitter women think hateful thoughts in their hearts and say hateful things about others when no one is around. This is still sinful because God is always present and He can see the hidden places of the heart.
There are situations when you will need to confess your sin to others. For example, a bitter wife may complain about her husband in a Bible study and malign his character to the other women. The wife must confess to those women that what she did was wrong. The maxim is this: The scope of confession is always as great as the scope of offense. This may be difficult and humbling for you but it must be done.
You may want to make a list of all those that you know you have spilled bitter poison on. You may want to say something like this when you approach them:
"(name) I am working to resolve the bitterness in my heart and life regarding (person or situation). I have realized that I have said things to you about (name) that were sinful. I was wrong for saying these things to you, will you please forgive me?"
The goal is always to bring God glory and in confessing your own sin to others and asking their forgiveness you are doing so.