Dreading the Holidays?

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32 (NASB)

I saw a report on the news just yesterday that an astonishing number of people are dreading Thanksgiving with their families. The reason is they don’t get along and the dinner has become a stress event rather than the warm and cozy event depicted on the television ads. 

One reason for dreading the holidays is the relationships that are in wreck and ruin for months on end. It is foolish to expect problems between people to simply evaporate over time yet this seems to be the prevailing method of dealing with them. If you have unresolved conflict in your life and refuse to forgive it’s like giving the devil a beachhead to poison the other areas of your life as well.

The Bible tells us to eliminate all bitterness from our hearts and lives. When we determine to unload those suitcases of anger, wrath, clamor, slander and bitterness in a biblical manner we can find restoration of many of those relationships that have been damaged. 

I warn you though, the change must begin at the heart level or it won’t continue. To simply state you won’t be bitter any longer is not enough, for the elimination of bitterness is a spiritual matter before it is lived out in your life. You must have a desire to honor and glorify God before any heart change takes place. 

The reason the heart is so involved is because the Bible says that it is the wellspring of life and that all our actions flow from it. Unless your primary desire is for God’s glory and honor you are veering down yet another bumpy road for God will tolerate no other motive for change. He shares His glory and worship with no other person or idol. 

Often the reason people try and “make peace” which is deceptively considered as “resolving bitterness” is so they will feel better about themselves, or be at peace within themselves. This is erecting an idol called Peace and/or and idol called Self in your heart. The only acceptable motive for resolving bitterness and all that goes with it is because to leave it alone does not glorify God. 

If you want to desire what God desires you must pray and ask the help of the Holy Spirit in changing your heart- thoughts, beliefs, desires- and then begin to act in obedience to the Scriptures regarding this issue.