267) Overcoming Bitterness (part two)

From Tramp for the Lord, © 1974, by Corrie ten Boom and Jamie Buckingham, p. 50-53

     (continued…)  A year later I was in Darmstadt again.  My friends had given this man a car with special fixtures so he could drive without legs.  He met me at the train station to bring me to the camp.  As I got in the car, he laughed at my startled look.

     “You taught me that Jesus is victor,” he said.  “Now surely you are not afraid to drive with a man who has no legs.”

     “You are right,” I answered.  “I shall not be afraid.  I am so glad to see you again.  How are you?”

     “Fine.  I must tell you at the very beginning that I have surrendered my bitterness to God.  I repented and the Lord did just as you said.  He forgave me and filled my heart with His love.  Now I am working in the refugee camp and am praising God that He can use even a legless man if he is surrendered.”

     He paused, and then continued.  “But there is something I must know.  After you forgave your enemies, was it settled once and for all?”

     “Oh no,” I answered.  “Just this month I had a sad experience with friends who behaved like enemies.  They promised something but did not keep their promise.  In fact, they took great advantage of me.  However, I surrendered my bitterness to the Lord, asked forgiveness and He took it away.”

     We were bouncing over a bumpy road but the lawyer was more intent on me than his driving.  “Was the bitterness gone for good, then?”

     “No; just the next night, at four o’clock, I awoke and my heart was filled with bitterness again.  I thought, How could my dear friend behave as she did?  Again I brought it to the Lord.  He filled my heart with His love.  But the next night it came back again.  I was so discouraged God had used me often to help people to love their enemies, and I could always give my testimony about what He had done in my life; but now I felt defeated.

     “Then I remembered Ephesians 6:10-20 where Paul describes the ‘armor of God.’  He said that even after you have come to a standstill, still stand your ground.  I was at a standstill, so I decided to stand my ground and the bitterness and resentment fell away before me.

     “Without the Lord Jesus I cannot be victorious.  I need the Lord every moment.  And I have learned that I am absolutely dependent on Him.  Because of this He has made me rich.”

     We were just arriving at the refugee camp and my lawyer friend parked before the building, turned off the motor, and looked at me with a grin.  “I am glad to hear that,” he said.  “For sometimes my old bitterness returns.  Now I shall just stand my ground, claim the victory of Jesus over fear and resentment, and love even when I don’t want to.”  My friend had learned well the secret of victory.  It comes through obedience.


Matthew 6:12  —  Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Ephesians 6:10-17 — Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.