Bitterness. It's not bittersweet. It's simply the bad taste. Not the cool bitters you order for a good stiff drink. Bitterness.
I heard a sermon a couple of weeks ago on how bitterness leads to death. It only takes away. It's steals life and joy. It blinds and embellishes sorrow.
The sermon was on Naomi. A woman who chose to be known as bitter. That was her banner. It was her elevator pitch. It was her Twitter bio. It was the tag line that followed her around.
Don't call me Naomi. Call me Mara.
Naomi means pleasant. Mara means bitter.
She asked people to call her bitter.
Her hopes and her plans and her dreams are shattered. Her joy has ceased. She had lost her husband and sons. She had a right to be sad. She had good reason to be not okay. She was allowed to mourn. But something happened as she continued:
Her bitterness became her banner.
I have genuine compassion for her though. She lost everything.
She knew how she felt. She was not shy from expressing her emotion. I think there is value in that. But again, her bitterness became her banner. That's when it becomes unhealthy. Bitterness has a place but it also has to end.
Since that Sunday I have been thinking about banners. What is my banner? What do I hold above my head and make sure that everybody sees? What's my elevator pitch?
I don't want bitterness to become my banner.
When people ask who I am, what do I respond with?
What about you?