One time, a man got violently ill after being bitten by a dog. The grim faced Doctor brought back the bad news, “The dog was rabid. You are dying of hydrophobia. There’s nothing I can do for you.”
The stricken man asked for a pencil and paper and then spent several minutes thinking and writing. The doctor commented, “You certainly are making a lengthy will.”
The patient fired back, “I’m not making my will; I’m making a list of people I’m going to bite!”
It wouldn’t be funny if it weren’t so true! There are people who, like rabid dogs, spend their days looking for someone else to bite.
Chances are you know the person I’m talking about because he already bit you. And you know, he could even be a she. Bitterness, like rabies isn’t gender specific. She could be a church member, or he might be your boss. This fellow could be a neighbor or a teacher. In a worst case scenario your rabid person would be a relative. Maybe she’s an irregular parent or an irrational mate.
I remember an instance when a neighbor poisoned our dog. In a way, it was our fault. She had learned to open the gate and kept getting out. The neighbor behind us had no fences and she would get into their garden. One day she came home sick. We called the vet, described the symptoms. Poison.
The dog died in my arms. Man, it was so sad to watch the boys see their beloved dog die. I felt such anger and resentment at that neighbor. I wanted to go poison his dog.
How fair would that be to the dog?
Bitterness is like rabies. If you aren’t careful you get infected with the very thing that hurt you and you go out to hurt others.
Hugh Downs said, “Bitterness is the only weapon that we wield by the blade.”
Jesus gave us the cure for bitterness. It is called forgiveness. He taught forgiveness, he modeled forgiveness, and he demanded forgiveness from his followers.
(Ephesians 4:31) Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
32 And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Try to remember that the next time you get bitten by a rabid dog.