Bitterness vs. the Past

So I was listening to something this week and it got me thinking. How many of us have a past that we would really rather not visit, think about or just erase all together? I’m just going to raise my hand now. Don’t get me wrong, I would be good if I could just go through there with a pencil and only erase the stuff that I don’t like. I’d keep those days at my Papa and Mimoo’s. I’d keep those 5 a.m. fishing trips with Uncle Andy Boswell, thinking about him makes me crave sardines. (His preferred fishing trip lunch with a side of Babe Ruths) Then there are those times when I would just completely rip the page out if I had the chance, not just in my book of memories but everyone’s. Events that to me seemed like they lasted an eternity. I wrote in an earlier post that I’m quite the awkward girl. I’ll let y’all go back and read that one to get a glimpse of what I have to personally overcome.

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Growing up, though it has never been Murphy’s Law for my life, it has been Holly’s Law.  It’s not “what’s the worst that can happen?” cause that is what is going to happen. Nope, not for this girl. How bad can Holly screw it up, cause that is how bad she is going to mess it up, or what’s the worst thing that could be said at this moment? Prepare the duck tape because it’s fixing to bust out of my mouth at lighting speed. Now grant you, this could be in my own mind because I am by far my greatest critic when it comes to my mess ups. Sometimes I still have to stop myself even now from revisiting things I did as a child or teenager and beating myself up about them.

Now y’all are like “Jeepers Holly, what were you listening to?” As Gdaddy says, “Glad you asked cause I’m going to tell you.” I was listening Genesis Ch. 19. when God wipes Sodom and Gomorrah off the map. The part that really hit me though was Lot’s wife. We always read the part about her turning into a pillar of salt because she looked back. Now I’m going to leave that there for a second and jump to something else for just a minute, y’all stick with me.

Most of the time in the New Testament we listen to Jesus talk about Christians being the salt of the earth. “Salt is good, but if the salt should lose its flavor how can you make it salty? Have salt among yourselves and be at peace with one another.” Mark 9:50 The salt is used to make everything just right.

It was used in the Old Testament times as well! Leviticus 2:13 “You are to season each of your grain offerings with salt; you must not omit from you grain offering the salt of the covenant with your God. You are to present salt with each of your offerings.” Salt was used to make offerings acceptable to God. He would not accept them otherwise.

Now back to Lot’s wife, which is all we know her by, even in Luke 17:32 it just says “Remember Lot’s wife”.

So as they left they were commanded not to look back on the city as it was being destroyed. As we know though, she did, and became a pillar of salt. Genesis 19:26 for those wanting to take a look at the whole story again.

What happens to our food when it gets over salted? What happens when you really stub your toe and the WHOLE container of salt goes into the mashed potatoes? They become inedible, bitter to taste, and they have to be thrown out. Over salting anything makes it very bitter. To the point that it is not good anymore, we are talking YUCK city, you can’t even put cheese on it and serve it. Y’all, you can put cheese on just about anything an make it edible, but not if it’s over salted

Sodom was her past, ain’t got a clue what was there for her, what she was leaving behind or if she thought she left the stove on. My question about this story other that the disobedience was, what’s up? Her past! God had told them to leave it behind and go, not looking back on the horrors and awfulness of their past. God had set them free from the destruction that was imminent and given them all they needed to live free, but she could not let go of the past, and the bitterness of that consumed her… literally.

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I personally have past issues that I deal with and work on and try to let go. I know I have been forgiven, I’ve accepted Jesus as my Savior and I am constantly working on my relationship with Him. There are people in my life, and I’m not judging just observing, who have not let their past go. People in their lives who have caused them hurt and pain and have been dead for years now and they still talk about it with such aversion, claiming that they have forgiven these people. They hold on to those feelings of anger and despair of the times and moments that cause them so much distress and just let it eat away at them, Meanwhile, the people who cause such emotional havoc have been dead for 15 and 30 years.

Those emotions turn in to bitterness when you can’t let the past go and they do nothing to anyone except you. Bitterness eats away at your joy and happiness, not allowing you to enjoy the present or look forward to the future. You are rooted to that one spot like a pillar. Always looking back on the events that hurt you the most and reliving them, wishing you could have done something different. You do not realize, you have a chance to start each day fresh and with no mistakes. You have a chance to build someone else up, instead of tearing yourself down all the time.

You will find that over time as you work on building others up, your past hurts, habits and hang-ups, anger, stress and just drama that constantly dragged you down, are no longer an issue. We can’t change the past, but we can leave it where it is. We can live right now and make a difference right now, we can be a positive in the lives of others, giving us all a new hope and brighter future. The question is, are you going to leave the past where it is or are you going to let it season your future to the point of bitterness.

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