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Today’s Truth

“See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”

Hebrews 12:15

Friend to Friend

I grew up drinking from a bitter cup.

Brewing daily in my childhood home was a large vat of bitterness. The longer it was left to ferment, the stronger the brew became. Because my mother drank from it on a daily basis, her bitterness began to grow roots—bitter roots. Pouring me a cup from her portion of bitter poison, she would share her deepest pain with me, how victimized she felt, and how crippled her emotions had become.

Granted, my mother’s life had been troubled. Her father was physically abusive to the members of her family—herself included. As a result, her self-esteem was very poor and she suffered with fear, anxiety, and depression…and anger. Lots and lots of anger. My mother’s emotional pain sabotaged her marriage very early on and, although she attended church weekly and was involved in Bible study and Christian counseling at times, she never would allow the grace of the Lord to heal her from all the past events which had caused her great hurt.

And so my mother continued to share her bitter cup with me, year in and year out, causing me—as Today’s Truth warns—much trouble and defilement. Not surprisingly, as generational curses go, I began to develop my own vat of bitterness in my teen years which, looking back, truly stunted my growth as a young Christian. I would attend church and read my Bible, but still I struggled to make progress toward the goal of holiness to which I had been called. I was spiritually weak and easily toppled. Sin seemed to have its way with me.

In my late 20’s I was attending a women’s Bible study when today’s focus verse came up in our discussion. The teacher said something profound that day which changed the course of my life. She said, “If life has handed you a bitter cup, it’s your responsibility to drink it fully— not pass it to others.”

Wow. I had two young children at that time, and boy, I did not want to trouble or defile their lives as mine had been! That very day I resolved to not only drink down that cup, but to digest it in a godly way so that no bitter root would remain for my children to find and possibly brew their own batch of bitterness from.

Jesus had his own bitter cup to swallow—the cross. By far, it was not going to be an easy swallow, so he asked his Father to take it from him, if possible (Luke 22:42). But the Father had a redemptive work planned and it required Jesus to drink that cup. And praise be to Jesus, by his obedient action, we were set free from our sin trouble and its defilement of our souls!

The Lord has a redemptive plan in mind for you and me and it will require us to drink down our individual cups of bitter resentment. Maybe your life has been mostly sweet and your cup is thimble-sized or maybe it is closer in size to a large, German beer stein. Regardless of the quantity, its taste will be bitter. Pucker up if you need to, but swallow deeply so that your healing may begin and the next generation of your loved ones will not be harmed by what has harmed you.

Let’s Pray

Only you, Lord, know the depth of what I have endured. My pain is real and raw. I have been wronged, but I do not need to hold those persons accountable, because you will. Please release me from my unforgiveness and the bitterness it produces. Enable me to offer the same grace you showed me to those who have caused me pain, and in so doing, free me from sin’s grip.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn: Have you been sipping steadily on a cup of bitterness? Is it a cup that was passed down to you, or did you brew up your own batch? Name what you are bitter about (whatever/whoever you refuse to forgive). Take it to God and claim his promise over it It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord” (Romans 12:19b). And then—Let. It. Go. Release it to your Redeemer, pursue redemption, and live redeemed!

More from the Girlfriends

Overcoming Overeating: It’s Not What You Eat, It’s What Eats You (Harvest House Publishers) is one of Lisa’s six books in her Restoring Your Temple® health resource collection. Her books are available on Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, or wherever books are sold.

Lisa Morrone, PT is a physical therapist, professor, author of six books, radio guest and event speaker who encourages people to “Get Healthy for Heaven’s Sake.” Visit Lisa’s website for more information and to sign up to receive her informative and life-breeding “Monday Morning Health Tips”!

21 Responses to “A Bitter Cup”

  1. Vickie says:

    I have a step daughter who inherited her mother’s bitterness. She often lashed out to everyone, but I have been a particular victim lately because of her frequent misconceptions. Have lost my husband 18 months ago, I have no one to hash this out with and it is really eating at me!

  2. Lisa Morrone Lisa Morrone says:

    Vickie, the Lord has created us to be in community with His people through the local church. I would encourage you to speak with your Pastor or a women’s ministry leader/counselor. We need each other in good times and bad. Often those who are in communion with God can look into our life circumstances and give us some real clarity on the emotional fog we find ourselves in.

    I do hope you get some solid counsel and a whole lot of love!

  3. Angela Vance says:

    Tears as I sit here reading this (and waiting to meet with my coworker). My mom’s bitterness has affected me and my bitterness is affecting my seven year old. I don’t want that…

    You said your mom would never let Lord heal her… How do you know? She may be like me, crying out for God to heal her, to help her… Yet still found it outside her ability to handle. Pray for me please.

    • Lisa Morrone Lisa Morrone says:

      Oh, Angela, my heart is heavy for you. Healing happens as you are obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. None of us have the ability to handle things that have hurt us apart from God. Submit yourself to Him, open up to friends who can support you and pray for your healing. Obey the advice of godly counselors. Your new day will dawn…

  4. Gabrielle says:

    Our focus needs to become not what people have done to us, but what Christ did for us.
    Not looking inward but upward. Our issues do not define who we are in Christ.

  5. Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.

  6. Victoria says:

    So blessed to know God is right there to set us
    Free from the pain of those who have come
    Against us. I’m dealing with this regarding my
    Mom and sister. Today is a new day!!!!
    I will release them to God. And begin the healing
    Journey.
    Blessings
    Victoria

  7. Jade says:

    Today’s devotion really did speak to me. Same here-my Mum’s bitterness from an abusive husband, and also having watched her Mum go through the same thing, and her grandmother as well. It seemed this curse would never end. My step-dad was extremely emotionally abusive to my Mum and I. My other siblings resented him for it and that did not go well for my Mum and I. I was not an angry child but I was very timid-even as an adult. My sister was however an angry and introverted child and my brother developed a drinking problem. The anger did manifest in my 20s and I sabotaged a long loving relationship of 10 years coz I slept around too much. I struggled with lots of pain, anger, bitterness and affirmation at this time. It did not help that Mum was still being abused and she would let me know every single thing that he did or said to her, and this broke me. I believe the Lord was watching over me all this time-just waiting for me to call on Him. I joined a fellowship for 10 weeks and brought out that anger and bitterness as my struggle. I told God,(AND MEANT IT) I was done and did not want to carry that load again. Further, I wanted a good man in my life-one who would love, respect and cherish me, and love our children fully.
    Once I made this decision, I (my siblings too) stopped listening to Mum’s negative emotions. If she tried, we’d all stick together and advice her to speak to a friend or get herself out of the situation. With prayers, I was able to forgive my step dad. My brother also overcame his drinking problem and settled down. My sister is ok. I’ve been married for 5yrs now to a man who adores me and last year, Mum finally moved out to start her life afresh.
    It has not been easy and they are triggers but look up to our Heavily Father to take off that load from you. There is hope.

    • Lisa Morrone Lisa Morrone says:

      Jade, isn’t our Jesus the BEST at redeeming broken people and restoring our hearts to love again? So glad to hear of the “spacious place” the Lord has given you! Many you continue to flourish under His loving care.

  8. Jess says:

    This is something I struggle with daily as I grew up in an negative, angry and abusive household and then sadly, married into one…they were ‘shiny on the outside’ though. It was a while before the truth made itself know…but once it did, all the unnecessary chaos made sense, and through Christ’s help, I’ve been able to become very aware of my shortcomings and with God’s help, battle them.
    I love your teacher’s quote…which by the way, doesn’t show up on the Bible Gateway devotion, don’t know if you can remedy that, glad I found it here. I truly don’t want to share my cup with anyone else, and am working on what Christ’s version of loving others is…though I also know that he wants no one to ever stay in an abusive situation…but one can forgive and love from afar.
    Thank you…

    • Lisa Morrone Lisa Morrone says:

      Jess, it sounds like the Lord is leading you on a path of healing! And absolutely, boundaries erected against an abuser are 100% necessary. Most times, distance is needed to gain a safe space to heal.

  9. Shanna Reach says:

    I loved reading this. It is so hard to swallow. My soon to be ex-husband had a 2 year affair while I was pregnant with our youngest son. I forgave him because God gave me the peace to do it. As time went on, I still was not enough for him and 2 years later we are going through a divorce. I am trying to be at peace for my children. I am having a really hard time. Our divorce will be finalized at the end of the month and he is already in another relationship. My bitterness is that everyone eventually leaves and that started with my dad. My mom is dying from Emphysema and she too, will be leaving me soon. God has shown me he is there but my flesh of a heart says it’s not enough. I know it should be but I feel so alone. I am trying to be strong for my two sons but honestly I want to run away. Its hard when you have constantly had situations that leave you with the feeling, “your are not enough and you never will be”. I have gained so much weight I don’t even recognize myself and I have no self-esteem. I don’t know how to fix it and I don’t know how to give it to God. I am beginning to think I am a lost cause.

    • Lisa Morrone Lisa Morrone says:

      Shanna, thank you for responding in transparency. The church you fellowship in is set up by God to be your family. I know it has been for me when my “blood relatives” were absent from my life. Reach out, find someone with a heart to walk alongside you. The Bible says a three-strand cord is not easily broken. That would be you, Jesus, and a trusted confident. No one is ever a lost cause. The Lord is the one who recovers lost things (read the parables in the Bible where He–analogously–finds lost sheep, lost coins, etc.) HE SEES YOU! HE WILL RESCUE AND REDEEM YOU, Shanna. And BTW, you are complete in Him, highly cherished, and always fully “enough” in His eyes.

  10. Vicki says:

    Hi Lisa!
    Growing up with a negative mother who didn’t like me or love me and who wanted to break my spirit was my bitter cup. I then chose a husband who only loved himself and who was just as controlling and verbally sbusive!
    My first grade Sunday school teacher told our class who Jesus was and I knew I needed Jesus and accepted him readily and he has been my loving Father ever since.
    I too chose not to share my bitter cup and chose to be positive and loving and accepting of my three sons.
    I am also very grateful to be in a job now that I can help people with their pain.
    Thank you thank you Jesus for loving me!
    Best wishes on your move!!

    Vicki from Mom’s Group

    • Lisa Morrone Lisa Morrone says:

      Vicki, Jesus is so good to love us out of messes, through our messes, and then, finally, to make our “mess” our MESSAGE!

      Thank you for your well wishes. I covet your prayers over our transition!

  11. Hayde says:

    I just want to say: THANK YOU!

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