Life not easy. Relationships are not easy. But it is necessary that we know how to handle relationships or our life will be limited and our potential will be squashed. In fact, if we don’t handle relationships well, we can slowly accumulate a toxic bitterness that forms in our system. It can cloud our vision, hijack our impact and literally ruin our health.
The good news is that we don’t have to let what people do that hurt us, ruin our lives. We can overcome. But it takes work and intentional investment to live bitter free. Today we want to talk about the ups and downs and a helpful strategy to grow.
What Does it Mean to Live a Bitter Free Life?
Melissa: I think it would help people to even understand our journey through this topic. It’s something that I think everyone deals with every day, like I started with opening the show. It could hit you first thing in the morning. It happened to me the other day just taking the kids to school. Wham, something happens to get you upset and irritated and really wanting to make your position known and fight for yourself and how dare they, and boom, that arrow comes so quick. Then I spun for hours. I let myself spin for hours about this thing.
It’s like we all have stuff, I think, that happens to us literally every day, and it could be something as stupid and silly as something that happens quick to you in the morning with finding a parking spot or doing certain things, to the intense relationships that we have all day long in a lot of scenarios that happen in our life. I would turn the question back to you, hon, and just say, what are some of the areas that you’ve had to work through with bitterness?
Mark: A long time ago, I made the decision that I was going to give my life to helping people, especially helping people overcome, deal with their struggles, and help point out what’s driving their difficulty so they can start getting free. I felt God speaking to my heart that, “Okay, just so you know, you’re going to be helping a hurting church,. You’re going to be helping a hurting world who is going to hurt you back. Are you ready for it?” I’m kind of like, “Yeah, God.”
Melissa: Yeah, let’s do it. We’re excited.
Mark: I’m going to do it. I love you and I love people, and we’re going to do this.
Mark: Then the reality of it set in-
Mark: … that people that are hurt, they will use you as a target because you’re-
Melissa: Whipping post would be better.
Mark: Yeah. It’s like doing surgery on somebody while they’re awake with no anesthesia. You go in and the surgery is necessary, but you strike pain. What are they going to do? They’re going to punch you in the face, even though you’re helping provide something and leading them into something that’s going to help them. I had to learn very quickly to realize, wow, when people are mad at me or when the stuff’s happening, they’re really not just mad at me, although I’m not perfect by any means, but I began to realize stuff is being stirred up in them that is a reference that they’re going to need to recognize and deal with. There’s a lot of areas where I actually didn’t realize I had a lot of pent-up bitterness that didn’t … I wasn’t this nasty person. I had a-
Melissa: That’s a great point. Yeah.
Mark: I had this value in relationships, and I actually wrote it in my journal. This is a long time ago. I’ve since revised it. I had this statement I put in my journal, and the statement was this, “I will not react to abuse by passing it on.” That was one of my core values, because being in ministry for 20-plus years in a lot of different capacities, I’ve been around pretty abusive people.
Mark: I’ve made the decision that, okay, what’s coming at me, I’m not going to pass that on to people I lead or to people I work with. The problem is it stayed inside, and it would come out in other weird areas or maybe I would just kind of go into a depression.
Melissa: Or isolate.
Mark: I would isolate or I would just go into a spiraling discouragement, or I’d have a weird snapping or I’d be driving and I’m at a stop light and I look down for a second, don’t see the light turn green, and somebody behind me doesn’t go, beep beep; they go brrrr, like that was necessary. I’d go from zero to 9000 where I actually visualize getting out of the car, walking back, pushing their window down, and going, “Do we have a problem?” Let’s just get real. We all have those scenarios that we go through, because what it’s a sign of is there’s stuff inside of us that’s accumulating over time.
Melissa: Yeah, I think this is a really great point that you’re making and-
Mark: I’m not the kind of person that sits there and fumes about a specific person. All of you watching and listening, you can be free. I’m not thinking or stewing about you in a bitter way. Where my battleground was and where God is still leading me in freedom is it being pent-up in myself. The situations and frustrations just accumulate inside, and it becomes a self-bitterness world. It becomes a self-beating and then you explode with … Or I would struggle with discouragement or struggle with, “I don’t know how this thing’s going to work out. I don’t know where we’re going to go with this.”
I think that’s been something that I’ve learned to let God heal me in, which has a lot to do with loving myself, being gracious towards myself, and not allowing that to become a lens in my filter that the Bible talks … There’s a scripture … I remember my parents teaching me when I was a kid about a root of bitterness and what it would do, and they would teach me about strongholds and how it would affect your life. I remember at 17, I had this chart my mom gave me about strongholds and bitterness and how it has a work that it does in your life. I remember seeing people in church being taken out by it. I would see my own family being taken out by it. Wow, they’re angry at this person. It never got resolved, and they just carry that in their life.
There’s a scripture I mentioned, Hebrews 12, where it says, “Looking …” The King James says, “diligently.” The new King James says, “carefully.” Other translations might say, “Watch out.” I think that’s a key thing to look is that the Bible is like, “Keep your eyes open. You need to be aware.” I think that people have turned into zombies and we’re just going through life like, “I’ve got to go to work, got to do, got to take the kids to soccer, got to get food ready.”
We are not aware at all, and that’s very concerning to me because the words like, “Look carefully because a root of bitterness will spring up, and it’s going to cause you trouble.” It’s going to cause you trouble and thereby defiling everyone around you. You’re going around and you’re like this misty spray of bitter poison everywhere you go just sh-sh-sh-sh, spraying it around. People are being infected by the waft of your toxicity whether you talk or not. People say, “Well, I didn’t say anything.” No, just being in the room is infecting people.
Melissa: Let me ask you this, because I think that most people listening and watching us right now would say, “Yep, I know that verse, know that scripture, taught it all through church.” I think most people can point it out in others. What do you think is going on that people are not really understanding the full impact of bitterness working in them?
Mark: I think that over the years, one of the biggest things I’ve learned, especially the past 2 or 3 years, big time, is people lack self-awareness. They are not aware of what’s going on inside of them.
Melissa: That’s really good. Yeah.
Mark: Then you have people that are really self-consumed and self-focused and they’re like, “Well, I’m not having a good day.” They’re not even self-aware. They’re focused on just like a patch of negative thinking that they’re stuck in. Meanwhile, there’s this whole other toxic world going on that they’re not even aware of. We are very unaware of how we come across, how we interact with people. We’re very unaware of our part. We’re also very unaware of the self-talk that’s going on inside of us.
Getting Real with Bitter Thoughts that Are Affecting Us
That’s what I like to do. I like to pull that world up to the surface and go, “Let’s look at this. Let’s look at what it’s saying. Let’s look at what it’s doing, how it’s affecting your life.” It’s not necessarily the upfront. Psychology would call it the conscious world of thought. It’s not so much that world that’s killing you the most; it’s the background. We have a lot of terms for it, subconscious, unconscious. I really feel that that’s the spirit world dimension that’s going on, and I feel that that needs to be pulled to the surface, going, “Wait a second. What do I really believe down here about my life? Oh, no, that’s something I shut down. That’s something I avoid.” Let’s pull that thing up and let’s look at it. I’m bitter. There’s been times where in my journey … I’m just rambling.
Melissa: No. I think it’s great. Go ahead.
Mark: There’s been times in my journey where I go, “Okay, God, I hate this person. There we go. I hate him. Let’s deal with it.” I would bring that thing up just like, “Oh, no, I’m going to get to the root of this thing. Why do I feel that? Well, it’s because really I hate myself, and that person’s being infected by my view of them. I’m going to deal with my self-hatred first and give that over to God, tear that thing down, and now I’m going to release forgiveness and change my lens on this person. I’m going to deal with this now.” I feel like people don’t do that. They just get mad and then they just go, “Whatever,” and then they think on the next thing. It’s like, whoa, you just gave your calling card over to bitterness and then you just went to the next thing.
Melissa: Yeah. I think, too, you being able to go to the self-hate, that’s the next level [crosstalk 00:09:36].
Mark: That’s a deeper level. Yeah.
Dealing with Woundedness
Melissa: Okay, that’s a deeper level. Help people understand on even a more basic level where there is actual wound trauma, something that came to them, because I think that … You talked a lot about the lack of self-awareness, but I think there also is the people that say, ‘No, no, no. They really hurt me. That really happened,” and they’re living fully aware and still attached to that wound.
Mark: Yeah. There’s a lot of ways I can answer that question, but one of the … I’m not even sure if this is biblically correct to say this. One of the best ways to get back at people that wronged you is to be free of what they did to you.
Mark: I deal with the whole spectrum of hurt with people. I have in my heart deposited interactions I’ve had with people and horrific circumstances, horrific. If our listeners heard about it, they’d be like, “You know, my life’s okay.”
Melissa: Right. I know.
Mark: “What do I have to be bitter about?”
Mark: Helping them process through tremendous, tremendous pain, like you said, of hurt. I think the thing that, one, we have to do is in our relationships, acknowledge people’s pain. It’s hard for people to forgive because no one sat down with them and said, ‘You know what, you were wronged.”
Melissa: That’s so true.
Mark: “You were hurt and this was not right.” The church has skipped past that stage because that’s hard work. That takes too much time. We’re worried that if we say, “I’m sorry that that wound is …” and validate it, that we’re going to keep people as victims. No, you can actually set them up to empower them. Then we’ve skipped past that. We’re like, “Okay, you just got to forgive and just get over it.” Then people are like, “Wait, how, how? Because I’ve said I forgive you 8000 times and …”
Melissa: The sting is still there.
Mark: The sting is still there.
Melissa: It’s still there.
Mark: We are not free until we can look back at the memory and see it from a healed perspective. That’s really when we’re free. It takes time. It takes investment. That’s a big reason why I wrote the book Bitter Free! It’s why I teach a whole series. I’ll mention the course that I’m opening up right now again, Living the Bitter-Free Life. It’s that we don’t have the tactical equipping to know systematically how to deal with this in our life, because all day long, the enemy’s just setting up hooks for you to be offended.
Melissa: Oh, constantly. All day.
Mark: Whether it’s somebody on the road or whether it’s somebody at church or somebody at school or just these nitpicky things to get you upset. We’re not self-aware to realize, “Hey, somebody’s talking to me. Somebody’s talking to me. I need to not listen to that. I need to not give in to that. I need to empower myself.” Then we also don’t know the tools of, “Okay, I was wronged greatly,” or somebody says, “You know, I had $20,000 stolen from me. I had somebody take my whole retirement. I had somebody abuse me. I had somebody do this to me. I had a pastor totally shame me in front of a whole group of people,” all these different things that people go through. There has to be a process by which we know how to release those things, and we’ve not been taught that.
Removing the Spiritual “Lockdown”
Mark: We’ve not been able to walk through that. I think to answer your question, the first thing that needs to happen is we acknowledge the pain, and we need to have a sense of validation of like, “Okay, that was wrong.” Then the second stage is, “Okay, but I want to forgive because if I don’t want to forgive, it shows that I’ve not received God’s forgiveness for my life.” Any person who can’t forgive doesn’t know what it means to be forgiven. We have to settle that issue first, like, “Okay, all right, all right, I get that. Okay, I want to forgive, but I’m just still struggling.” Then what we need to do is we need to confront the interfering thought systems. It’s what the Bible calls strongholds. These are lockdown places that don’t budge. You can live your life in, “I have a good day. I love God. I love this, this or that. Oh, you know, my father-in-law, uhrr.” That’s a lockdown. Remember Lockdown from Transformers? He’d come in and every time he’d make an entrance, the music would change, the air would change.
Mark: That’s what happens in the spiritual realm. That’s why people need to understand strongholds is that you can live a fine life, you go about your … There’s lockdowns in certain areas that you can’t move forward in. What’s holding it is a bitter root that says, “You know, this person has access to you to torment you, what they did.” It takes every person a different amount of time. Some people it takes years, some people it takes decades. It’s different, but I think the more aggressive you are about, “I’m going to work on me,” the more that you allow God to work, the quicker you can get free. The more you keep pointing at everyone and the more that you keep blaming everyone and the more that you just hold that thing … How many people do we talk to that hold the bitterness to the grave?
Melissa: Then the sad thing is, and I think some people can relate to this, is then whether … Let’s say it’s a parent and you’ve held so much and you have not taken the step to have the honest conversations maybe that you could have had, or where you’ve needed to forgive them, whatever. The person dies and then they’re riddled with this ungodly grief and almost then view the parent as something they weren’t to then feel better.
I’ve seen it happen in my own extended family where there was an absolutely rotten, rotten father and he’s dead and they … I think some of them would put up a monument towards him, and they knew he was rotten. I don’t know what it’s even satisfying in them. It’s somehow making them feel better to them, make it look great. It’s amazing then how we then twist it and really lose sense of what has happened to us. Then I think it just makes room for the enemy to bring more stuff and more stuff in our life, because then self-hate, all those things that you brought out before have room to work because we haven’t really dealt with the initial wound of what happened to you, because then that bleeds into how do you see yourself, how do you see others.
How are you giving and receiving love? It can literally come from people, just one wound, one heart wound. That’s all it takes to then create a domino effect, which I think is speaking so much to the new book that is coming out that I encourage everyone to please go to Mark DeJesus. Go to our pages, go to the website and please give towards the book launch, because this is really crucial part of getting free is really what value do you see of yourself, how do you love yourself and then be able to give that out to others, because there’s a real core to that when we’re looking at bitterness. I know even when bitterness hits me is it takes everything. I start to feel yucky. I feel slimed. Really, then it starts to affect how I’m receiving from you.
How I’m able to give to my kids, ultimately affecting how am I receiving from God. Then I’m blaming him. I’m not hearing from him. It just bleeds into every area, and I think we-
We really need to have a heightened sense and awakening to how this stuff is literally … Its tentacles are infecting and grabbing onto everything. You’re right. You said it before, it’s subtle. It can come quick in very traumatic things and infect you, but for most of us it’s subtle and it’s one situation here that adds upon another situation. Then your kid gets … Something happens to your child or your new husband starts to get separated, and that thing just starts weaving a beautiful pattern of offense and distance, just so many things in your life to keep you from ultimately what we all want, this really healthy, good connection.
Mark: I think that what you said there about you having a bitter issue with somebody, just angry. You’re hurt by them and you talked about from a mom’s perspective, “Whatever with them. I’m just going to focus on my kids.”
It’s infecting you. Even though you don’t think it is.
Then you’re struggling in your relationship with God. You don’t make the connection
… that this thing over here is affecting, because the thing that we’re trying to resurrect in people’s understanding is life rises and falls on how you do relationships.
That’s the first thing to understand when it comes to living bitter-free, otherwise you won’t even see it as important, like, “Who cares?” Some people are just bitter and like, “Who cares? I don’t really care because nothing works for me. People are idiots and they’re jerks and whatever.” The second thing we understand is that there is a war over your relationships being fruitful. There’s a war over it. Very, very invisible. You can’t see it, but you can sense it by the feelings that come over you. Those are thoughts and imaginations that are seeking to keep you in a bitter posture towards certain things. You can shut them down and move on to something else, but God’s wanting us to address those things.
Mark: There are protocols. The word is given us. There’s pathways. Let’s talk for a second about … Let’s just get real. Why is it hard at a grassroots level? Yes, the enemy is there, the resistance is there, but practically speaking, why is it hard to live bitter-free?
My Own Bitter Free Journey
Melissa: Mmm. If I could, babe … I didn’t know I was going to ask you this, but I would love for you to, if you could, share a personal story relating to when it comes to feeling bitter and dealing with bitterness, where you didn’t quite feel … Because I think a lot of people can understand this. You were vulnerable and didn’t feel validated, accepted, where situations happened where bitterness was able to maybe hit you in a situation, because I think that this … I want to get into these how-tos, but I think that people can really relate with a lot of the stories that you’ve shared, and I think it would be great if you shared something and how you had to work through it.
Mark: A wound from my childhood is being misunderstood. It goes back to being very young, where there were many times and seasons I wasn’t heard, I wasn’t acknowledged, I wasn’t validated, so it created a deep rejection wound. In life, I became a very skilled communicator, was able to talk clearly, use articulation. I was able to feel like I knew what the solution was. I was able to, even as a kid, bring a lot of different people together. I had like the United Nations as my backyard playground. Seriously, from all different nations. I had this ability to bring together, and I used my voice and my communication to help that.
There was a wound all through life that I would carry, and it wouldn’t direct towards … It would create a bitter root, but it wouldn’t be towards necessarily a specific person. It would just kind of stay in me, where I was just angry at life, where I was just angry at circumstances. It would lead me often to feeling depressed. It would leave me feeling like a victim. It was very rejection-based with then bitterness on top of it.
This is a problem, because when I go into helping people, I’m so skilled at … God’s gifted me and that has been enhanced, of breaking stuff down, helping people to see, the light turns on, it goes. I look at any problem and I have this slight naiveté where I say, “Oh, this is simple. If we all just sit down and just let me talk with you, it’s going to be solved. I can just explain it to you.” In 2004, God began to do a major renovation in my life and really setting me free from a lot of stuff, deep fear, panic attacks, depression battles.
He was taking me through the Roto-Rooter of a lot of struggles that I had, brought people into my life to help me to address those areas and those issues. I knew that God was leading me to another level to use my communication. I was doing music at the time. I was doing worship at a church here in Connecticut. I knew God was leading me out. There were all these different events. You and I were getting married, and we left. The problem is that there was huge misunderstanding of us leaving.
There was nothing we could do about it because it’s like we’re moving on. Our story is … This is a true story. It’s not like a front. It’s not like the political campaign story-
This is the real story. We were leaving because God has burned in our hearts to get out to the world the message of what it can mean to have true inside-out transformation, healing, freedom, the life that God’s designed for you, really getting to the stuff that hinders you. We launched out, but what happened was so many misunderstandings followed us, so I go into my mode, which is like, if I just explain it to you-
Melissa: You’ll get it and see.
Mark: You’ll get it. Then I found that the more I explained, the worse it got. Then even this last year when we closed our church and we ended our pastoral season, we knew it was a tough decision, but we had to move on, we had to end it. We had to move quickly. We went to a new season. Incredible misunderstandings.
A lot of stuff. A bitter root got in there and infected a lot of stuff. My old wound would want to kick up and say, “I got to explain it because I feel misunderstood,” these patterns of feeling misunderstood, and if I use my gift to explain, then it would solve it.
Melissa: It didn’t.
Mark: It doesn’t.
Mark: I’ve had to learn to first let God heal that wound of being misunderstood, that he understands me. He understands my pain, and I can go to him with it and to not make that a personal attack on other people. I think it takes a great deal of maturity to not get bitter in ministry.
Melissa: It really does.
Mark: I think that it’s like the stratosphere of maturity to really have a healthy perspective of people who attack. I’ve had people that will come out of nowhere that you least expect come and attack. Right?
Mark: You’re like, “Whoa.”
Melissa: Whoa. Where did that come from?
Mark: My response is … To this day, to this day it’s still my response, because I think it’s the best that I know, “Hey, let’s sit down. Let’s talk. Let’s just talk. Let me just share with you.” Then it goes awful.
Melissa: Yeah, because the enemy uses that, too. I’ll use this as an example, because it kind of really speaks to it. As you know, Mark just shared, we left a church here in the area and moved into what we felt God was calling us to do, and still do. We pastored for a season.
Mark: Pastored for a season and then we had felt to move on from that. We could explain all that to you…..
Melissa: I had bumped into somebody who went to our old church, the original church, and they made a statement to me because they heard heard that we had closed our church. They said to me, “Oh, I heard you walked away from another church.” It caught me so off guard, and I went … In that moment, my brain went spinning, like, “Oh, you heard gossip and you …” Okay.
In that moment, I started to over-talk to try to explain, and I literally caught myself and I was like, “It doesn’t matter. This person’s already formed their opinion. They’ve already gossiped about or heard whatever about us. Nothing I say …” The enemy used them. I literally do not feel offended at them at all. The enemy used them to ping at me in a vulnerable time.
That’s the stuff that we need to be more solid in ourselves, because that’s just going to come at you regardless. No matter how much you explain something, no matter how much you feel like, “You know what, we got our story out. Now you should really understand,” or, “No, this is my motive and you need to …” No matter what, the enemy will use his tactics to come at you out of left field, to attack you, to try to challenge, “Who are you, who are you? Are you solid in who you are? Will you be offended by this? Will you take this [hock 00:26:55]?”
I think that’s the real journey for all of us. What are the things that for you, hon, that you did to get healing in all that stuff?
My Goal in Living Bitter Free
Mark: This really makes it basic. My goal is that if I see you in Target, I’m not going to be all weirded out. I’m going to be fine. It doesn’t mean I’m going to talk to you for an hour. There’s some people that are just dangerous people in the sense that they have a vile sense of evil in them that they’re not reconciling and dealing with. My first tactic in the toolbox is, first, self-awareness. Self-awareness makes you more tuned in to true discernment. Most people call what they are saying, “I discern,” and they’re not self-aware. They’re trying to apply discernment, and they’re not even aware of themselves and they try to discern stuff in other people.
Melissa: Yeah, it’s so yucky.
Mark: It makes it-
Melissa: It’s defiled the church a lot, honestly.
Mark: Yeah. Where it’s like, “Well, this person’s Jezebel,” or, “This person’s got this and this person’s got that.” It’s really cheesy because we really need to discern ourselves. That’s where I start, “What’s going on in me? Okay, I’m angry. I’m honest with what’s going on inside me. I’m angry. I’m hurt, I’m this. Okay, God, I’m going to …” What? The best thing I’ve noticed is what hurt is this bringing to the surface? Okay?
Melissa: Right. That’s right. Excellent, excellent. Yeah.
Mark: Okay, so let’s say-
Melissa: Write this down, everybody. It’s a good point.
Mark: Let’s say you hurt me, you do something that makes me mad. Right?
Looking at the Need You Are Trying to Get Filled
Mark: If I’m wise, I’m going to go, “Okay, what’s coming up in me? What’s really coming up? Okay, anger. Maybe a little bit deeper. What’s going on? Deep rage. What’s going on? Violence.” You should be honest, “I just want to be violent right now.” Then I go to what’s the wound? If I follow the trail of what I said earlier, being misunderstood, “Missy’s not listening to me.” What’s this going back to? This is going back to childhood, not being … God, I need you to heal that place …
Melissa: Yeah. That’s good, babe.
Mark: … of growing up being misunderstood. Okay, now here’s the transition. I have to trade, I have to give to God the desire for that need to be filled. I cannot make Missy the author of filling that need in my life. Most bitterness comes out of a underlying demand we have for someone to fill a need in our life. Pastors out there, man, I feel for you, because everyone coming into your church is bringing their daddy issues and pointing them at you.
Melissa: Oh, ain’t that the truth.
Mark: If you’re a female-
Melissa: Ain’t that the truth.
Mark: Pastor’s wife or maybe they’re co-pastoring or maybe the pastor’s a female, everybody’s throwing their mom issues at you, and they want you to be their mom and you need to act right and don’t act like my mom did. Oh, my goodness, it’s excruciating because … That’s something that if I help a church, it’s like we got to heal that, we got to heal that. What are you transposing upon the leadership that is your dad and mom wound or your relational wound in life that you’re carrying? If I get rid of that, then now the pastor, the leader, the co-worker, the friend, they don’t owe me anything … because I’ve removed the key that they have to fill a need, because usually that’s what it is. It’s a demand, “No, they have to be nice to me,” or, “They have to-”
Melissa: They validate me, validate my gift, validate my identity. Really, doesn’t it go back to all that? Validate who I am.
Melissa: Even in that conversation with that guy, I wanted validation. No, no, no, no. This was our story. No. That’s not who my validation should be in.
Mark: I think that’s the process that I go through. Then if I find, okay, I’m feeling, wow, the stirring, I may need to, in prayer, repent and break agreement with a stronghold that’s in operation, which could be simply bitterness. It could be just being offended. It could be anger, whatever it is. I feel that I’ve got to unplug the need. I find that’s a big thing, and I talk about some of those things in the trainings I do. I got to unplug the need that keeps me coming back to a bitter root. You know what I mean? It’s like I’m creating soil for that bitter root to work. It’s like we keep removing the bitter root, keep removing the bitter root, keep removing it. I’ve actually learned, especially in this past year or 2 working with people at a deeper level now, is that, okay, I have to change the soil setting.
Mark: What’s the soil setting is what am I laying down as the foundational need. I go to relationship, if I have this wound of being understood, then we’re not going to have a good friendship unless you listen to me, unless you fulfill my need to be heard. Unless you validate my every wound, we can’t have a friendship. It’s like, no, that’s not going to work, Mark. You listening or watching out there, what’s your area? It’s very easy. Excuse my language, it’s like what pisses you off? List it all out, your top 3. Travel down the wound. What’s the wound? What’s the need that you need fulfilled that needs to be, “Well, I need you to do this. I need you to do that”? We’re often transposing abuse that’s happened to us on the person that’s current.
Melissa: So true. That’s so good.
Mark: God has us in a season where he’s like, “You have to deal with this. You have to deal with this. You have to deal with this.” Moving further, this is a big thing that I do that is very helpful, is I try to focus my attention on appreciating what the relationship did in my life. Okay?
Most relationships are seasonal anyways. They’re for a season, and then they kind of-
Melissa: Which we need to get better at accepting that.
Mark: There’s very few relationships that go forever, because God has you in seasons where you’re rubbing shoulders with people to bring out things in you that you need to grow in, and then you graduate to the next level. That’s a systematic process people haven’t been trained to understand, so we get-
Melissa: Be okay with. Really.
Mark: We get mad at that church and its people. It’s like, no, it was probably time for you to leave. They couldn’t let you go. You couldn’t let them go, and you needed to be … That’s why churches are supposed to be fellowships that send out. That’s what the Bible was.
Melissa: Come on, now.
Mark: A place where we sent out. It’s like, you know what? You’ve gotten a good fill. Now get on out there and get your assignment done, or there need to be equipping centers where it’s like, “Okay, what are you called to do?” “Well, I’m a banker, and I’m in the banking industry.” All right, how do we equip you so that you are a minister in the banking industry?
Mark: That’s a whole different subject.
Melissa: Yeah. We could go on.
Mark: Anyways, we haven’t nailed down that we’re in transition, so if you recognize you’re in transition, you look back and you go like, “The people that were not the best towards me, it’s like they didn’t understand. I was moving on to something else. They didn’t get it. I wish they would, and if they knew my heart, they would. I’m just going to give them grace towards it and if I see them and they’re like, ‘Ah, you know, you hurt me, you wronged me,’ it’s like, you know what, I’m sorry if that happened,” but you can’t go chasing everybody around.
Mark: What you have to do is just deal with your heart. Deal with your heart and release those people. Then there’s certain times where your forgiveness … You may need to ask for forgiveness, or you may need to go talk to the person. I talk about that in the Bitter Free! book.
I think that people don’t exercise their forgiveness muscles on a daily basis. Every day, I’m forgiving people. Mostly because I’m learning to be less offended.
Not because of what they did. I’m learning to grow and not let things get hung up on me. The Bible talks about, “It is the glory of a man to overlook an offense.”
It’s the glory. It’s amazing splendor to have the ability to go, “Ah, I’m just not going to let that bother me. You know what? I’m going to let that go. I’m not going to get hung up on that. I’m not going to get all opinionated and get all messed up and ruined about it. I’m going to learn to release people.”
Melissa: Yeah. I think that’s good. I want to encourage everybody today, too. Pass the podcast on today, and I think that thing that I’m even taking away that I think would be good for everybody is let’s up our ante on self-awareness and what is going on in us that’s offending us, that’s around us, and really start taking an inner look. We’re not telling everybody to get obsessive, but let’s start getting a better and a greater self-awareness of what’s happening to us and why is it and let that heal and have better relationships.
Mark: Yeah, instead of looking at the other person and what they did, go “What’s this bringing up in me?” because I can’t control what you do or anybody does, but I can deal with what’s inside of me.