(A story about the bondage of bitterness, and how the Lord can help you to break free of it.)
Brook flopped herself down on an empty park bench and smiled. At last her projects were done and deadlines were met and she had a few minutes to relax. This was indeed a good day.
She kicked her shoes off and wiggled her toes in the sun. Then she closed her eyes and relaxed completely.
“Thank you for everything Lord. I love you so much and I praise you for helping me to get everything done,” she whispered.
After a few minutes she opened her eyes again and began to watch the many people walking on the path in front of her.
Suddenly she saw someone that she knew. She was clearly stressed and was walking fast as though she was trying to get away from something. She looked as though she was going to cry. Her eyes were half closed and her cheeks were flushed.
Brook knew her from the office. Her name was Carol and she worked in a different department on the floor above her. Brook had to meet with her weekly to give her papers for a meeting. She waved to her and called out to her as she was walking past.
“Hey Carol, how are you? Are you all right? You look like you are really having a bad day.”
Carol looked as though she wanted to carry on walking, but she suddenly turned and sat down next to Brook. As she did so she sighed heavily and said,
“Yeah no kidding. This has been a terrible day.”
“What’s happening?” Brook asked.
“It’s my dad. I just can’t stand him and his negativeness,” she yelled. “No matter what I do or what happens to me, nothing is good enough for him. I’m a loser in his eyes and that’s all there is to it, never mind the fact that I just got a big pay increase for helping our department to win a contract.”
Carol couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. She began to weep and started shaking. Brook put her hand on her shoulder and said softly,
“It’s okay, I understand. Just let it out.”
After a minute she stopped and wiped her eyes.
“I’m sorry, I feel like such an idiot for just blurting everything out,” she said. “It’s not your problem. I know that the Lord will help everything to come right. I just need to go to Him.
Right now I don’t understand what is happening. I feel like I am falling apart and feel like an emotional child. This is just crazy.”
Brook looked at her in amazement.
“You’re a Christian, Carol? Wow I didn’t know that. I thought there was something different about you, but we have never had the chance to talk much because there is always so much to do. Wow, that is awesome.
Yes, running to the Lord is the only thing you can do. You also have to make sure that you don’t allow yourself to become bitter. I really do understand your pain, Carol. I had the same sort of thing with my own dad.”
Carol raised her eyebrows.
“You did? Well now you seem to be so free. What did you do to change things?”
“I had to let the bitterness go, forgive him and leave him with the Lord,” Brook responded. “Tell me, have you always had this problem in your relationship with your dad?”
“Yes, ever since I was a young child. My older brother was his favorite. He got all the things he wanted without any problems. He just had to hint about wanting something and he got it. My dad also always made a fuss of him and bragged about him.
Me? I had to beg and plead with my dad for everything, and then all he did was yell at me and tell me I was stupid.”
The tears flowed again as she thought back on the many stressful years she had had. After a while she wiped her eyes dry again, blew her nose and then said,
“This is stupid. I just need to pull myself together now.”
“Carol, you can’t let the memories go. They are still fresh in your mind, and in fact it’s as though you are living in the past because you still feel like that hurting child that your dad always yelled at.”
Just then a noisy bunch of kids began playing a ball game nearby. Their shrieks of joy and cheering got louder and louder. Soon Brook and Carol had to face each other and almost shout in order to hear each other.
Just then someone shouted,
“Watch out. Duck.”
They had not been watching the game, but they both glanced up just in time to see a big soccer ball heading straight for them. They ducked instantly and felt the wind from the ball ruffle their hair as it rushed over them.
“Idiots.” yelled Carol. “Why don’t you go and play somewhere else?”
Brook glanced around the park. Pointing to a bench on the opposite side, she spoke loudly and said,
“Let’s get out of here. There’s an empty spot there.”
Carol nodded her head in agreement, so they got up and began to walk slowly towards the bench. As they walked, Brook continued talking and said,
“Tell me some more about your dad and your relationship with him. Do you remember the first time you had a disagreement with him?”
Carol thought for a while, then she said,
“Yes I can. When I was in my third year at school I really battled. I found it so hard to concentrate and I had to really try hard to keep up with everyone else in my class.
At the end of the year my report card was not very good at all even though I had tried so hard. My dad looked at me and said,
“You will NEVER amount to anything. You are stupid and you will never get anywhere until you begin to shape up.”
The next year I worked even harder, and at the end of the year I won a prize for the best progress in a school year. I was so proud of it, but when I brought it home to show my dad he kind of scoffed at it and brushed it aside as though it was no big deal.”
They had reached the benches now and sat down. Carol continued and said,
“I felt so devastated that he didn’t believe in me. And yes you are right, it is just how I feel right now. I feel like that little girl back there.
He phoned me just now to tell me about a relative that had died. I told him about my pay increase and about the contract and he just kind of brushed it aside again. He just said it was great. He didn’t even congratulate me or say that he was proud of me like most dads do.”
Brook looked at Carol and said,
“I understand just what is happening. You are experiencing what is called a trigger. It is a set of circumstances that is almost exactly like what you had before when you were young. And now you are feeling the same emotions and feelings that you had back then.
It is very easy to sort out, Carol. The Holy Spirit can walk back into that painful memory and heal those hurts of the past. But you also need to pray and forgive your dad for hurting you.
Perhaps you can ask the Lord to show you why he treated you the way he did. Was there maybe an underlying reason that caused him to react to you like that?”
Carol closed her eyes and sat thinking for a while. Then she suddenly let out a little chuckle and said,
“Um… he probably treated me like that because I think I WAS a bit stupid. I was always somewhere else in another world and I guess he was just trying to shake me out of it and get me back to reality.
Wow Brook I would love to pray now and ask the Lord to heal these things. Can you pray with me?”
“Absolutely,” Brook said. “Come let’s do it right now. There is nobody around here. I want you to remember that hurtful event when your dad rejected your prize. I want you to see the Lord Jesus standing with you because He was there with you.
I will ask the Holy Spirit to come in and take the painful sting out of your memory. You will never forget what happened because it did take place. It is part of your memory. But the important thing is you will not feel that pain when you think about it anymore.”
Carol nodded and said,
“I understand. Thank you so much for praying with me. Let’s do it.”
Brook put her hand on Carol’s shoulder once more and began to pray.
“Holy Spirit, thank you for coming into that painful memory that Carol had. I ask you to pour out your healing balm now and to heal the sting of that memory. Take the pain away Holy Spirit so that it no longer hurts her when she thinks about it. Thank you for doing it now.”
“Thank you for doing it Holy Spirit,” Carol prayed. “Thank you for washing away the painful memories.”
She sat silently for a moment then she said,
“I can sense something beginning to lift. Somehow I feel as though a heavy weight is beginning to lift off me and I feel more at peace.”
Brook smiled and said,
“That’s wonderful but we are not finished yet. There is something more you need to do. You need to pray and speak forgiveness to your dad for the hurts that you felt he caused in your life.
You need to let go of the bitterness in your heart towards him. No matter what has happened you cannot allow yourself to get bitter. You need to forgive him and let it go. It is not worth hanging onto that hurt.
When you do that I will walk you through one final stage, and I know that you will begin to feel a lift like you have not had for a long time. Can you do that?
Just imagine that he is standing in front of you right now, then speak out loud to him and share your heart. I know that you find it hard to do live, so you can do it in this way and it will still set you free.”
Carol sighed deeply, then she closed her eyes. After a moment she began to speak.
“Dad,” she said, “I want to tell you that I do love you, but you have hurt me so much. You always favored…”
She couldn’t speak for a while as the hurts of her older brother and how she felt so unloved compared to him came flooding back. After a while she was able to continue and said,
“You always favored Craig, and you always told me that I was stupid and would never amount to anything. Well I DID amount to something, but you still never accepted it.
I have tried so hard to please you dad, but I can’t do it any longer. I will no longer try to please you because the Lord is the only one who counts in my life.
Dad, I forgive you for hurting me. I know that you were only trying to make me into the best but I just floated around in life. And Lord I ask you to forgive me for allowing so much bitterness into my heart. Please wash me clean now. Thank you for it Lord.”
Once she was finished Brook began to speak,
“The Lord wants you to know that He has forgiven you and washed you clean. I love you my child says the Lord. And even though you have been through so much confusion in your lifetime, I was there with you all the time. Though people rejected you in your life I have never rejected you.
Yes my child they will never understand you, for you are different. You are blessed and you are special, and it is because I have a special work for you to do.
You cannot fit into the regular run of the mill people like your family. But do not be concerned about it. Leave them in my hands and I will raise you up and lift you up. In time they will have to see and acknowledge that I am the One who has done this.
So look up and rejoice. Be exceedingly glad for I will use you in a mighty way for my glory. Do not be concerned about how it will take place, for this is just the beginning. I will lead you in the right paths and bring you across the right people to confirm which direction to go in.
I love you my child and I have set you free. So go now and walk in that freedom says the Lord.”
Brook opened her eyes and saw that Carol was starting to smile. The pain was starting to go from her eyes, and she almost looked like a different person.
“Wow, thank you so much Brook. I can’t believe the weight that has lifted from me.”
Brook smiled and said, “Well this was really unexpected, but I can see that the Lord arranged this whole thing.”
Then she glanced at her watch and said,
“We had better get back to the office shortly. But before we do there is one more thing that I want you to do quickly which will completely set you free once and for all.
You are no longer under your dad’s authority because you are a married woman and in charge of your life. In fact you are under your husband’s authority.
You need to let your dad go spiritually and place him in the Lord’s hands. It doesn’t mean that you don’t want anything to do with him or won’t maintain contact with him. You can still love him for who he is. It just means that he is no longer that influence and authority in your life and you are free to be who the Lord wants you to be.
The best way that my husband and I have learned to do this is to imagine that you are at a train station or a harbor. Your dad is on a train or a ship and is leaving to go away. You are standing and waving him good bye until he is out of sight.If you can do that it will really set you free.”
“Yes I understand,” Carol said.
“Good, then just imagine what I shared and say good bye to him. Tell him you love him but you are letting him go and leaving him with the Lord.”
Carol looked much more in control now. She sat up straight and began to address her dad in the spirit once again.
“Dad,” she said, “I love you but I am letting you go. Good bye dad, I thank you for everything that you did in my life. And now I place you completely into the Lord’s hands.”
She stopped briefly then said,
“I can see him going on a train. It is pulling out of the station and going around the corner, and he is almost out of sight. Thank you Lord for taking care of everything now. Amen.”
She turned to Brook when she was done, smiled at her and gave her a big hug.
“Thank you so much for all your help,” she said. “I don’t know what I would have done if I had not bumped into you here. The Lord clearly arranged it.
Maybe we can get together some more in the future. What do you think? I didn’t know that you were a Christian either. But now that I do I would love to fellowship with you more.”
“I would love that,” Brook replied. “Maybe we can do a lunch next week. I don’t have so many deadlines after Wednesday.”
“That would be awesome. In the meantime though we had better get back to the office.”
They got up and walked together in the warm sun until they reached the office building. Then they said good bye and went their separate ways to the different floors that they worked on.
“Thank you Lord for what you did today,” Carol prayed silently as she sat down at her desk. “Thank you for setting me free and for the start of something wonderful.”
Then with a smile on her face for the first time in ages, she picked up her pen and began to work.