One of my daughters and I were conversing the other day (the exact incident escapes me) about an altercation between her and 'someone.' She was not happy, upset, in some state of (self) righteous indignation, and her countenance was showing it.
Our talk and her attitude brought to mind a most 'humbling' episode in my childhood.
The exact incident occurring at that time escapes me as well, but I was mad, upset, in a serious state of self-righteous indignation and my countenance was showing it.
It had something to do with my brother (its amazing what siblings can bring out in us).
He's three and a half years older than me. At the time I was all of five years old, so he was between eight or nine.
I remember stewing over the forgotten incident and nursing my grudge. I thought about it and fed it the table scraps of my self serving justifications for having it.
I worked it.
Pretty soon I just 'couldn't' keep the grudge inside and I was going to let 'everyone' know about it, right then.
Only problem was I couldn't find anyone.
I started a search through our house to find 'everyone' and finally located my mom and brother in the hall bathroom. They were standing and talking about something unimportant.
I marched into that little room with all the pomp and swagger my five year old body could muster. My pious grudge was oozing out of my pores.
And 'everyone' was still not paying me any attention!
So I pulled my body up as high as I could, in the efforts to make the loudest thump possible in sitting down on the only bathroom seat available... and promptly set myself down completely into the open toilet, feet in the air, knees to chest: five year old boy dunking himself in the toilet.
I had definitely made an impression! They immediately burst out laughing and couldn't stop.
My grudge and bitterness were immediately swallowed in a toilet of complete humiliation.
There is no dignified way to recover from that circumstance.
As I told my daughter, bitterness always hurts the one who is holding it inside. Sure, the bitter person (as a result of their attitude) tends to lash out against those around them. But the bitter person has to live with their own bitterness all the time.
In other words: Bitterness will get you all wet, and will splash those around you as well. (The closer you are the more splashes you get)
In Ephesians 4 (NIV) we see the following admonition:
31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
I, personally, need to be reminded of this all the time.