When others hurt us, we must quickly forgive them in order to avoid bitterness. Sometimes we like to hang onto the hurt and use it for a shield to protect ourselves from being hurt again. Unfortunately, all we’re doing is cultivating bitterness. God–not a wall of pain–is the best Protector of our heart. We need to forgive others like He forgives us–you, know–as far as “the east is from the west.” Psalms 103:12 says, “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” Some hurt is so deep that we’re not humanly capable of forgiving and thus, it requires God’s empowering grace to forgive. His grace towards us enables us to forgive others far beyond our own ability to forgive. The truth is, that without complete and utter forgiveness, the root of bitterness WILL take hold and grow. It’s like a hardy, fast-growing weed. Our self-righteous justifications for holding onto pain will transform us into someone ugly. Rather than glorify God, we mar His image. The Bible says: “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” (Heb. 12:14-15) We deserve God’s justice–not mercy–for all of OUR trespasses against His love—however, He graciously gives us mercy. If we are to live in His joy, we must give grace to each other. Forgiveness frees us from bitterness. We must be vigilant over our own hearts, especially if we are constantly around someone who hurts us. The more we realize the magnitude of God’s grace towards us, the less we are hurt by the ungraciousness of others. Our lives are too precious to be defiled by bitterness. God created each of us for a glorious purpose!