Every emotion carries good, and bad, reactions. Forgiveness, or in this case, unforgiveness is no exception. These 3 hidden symptoms of unforgiveness make your life miserable. They creep into every relationship you strive to build. Until you recognize the signs, you’ll never accept the problem.
Before you continue reading, ask God to open your heart and mind to the reality that you’re holding unforgiveness in your heart. Hopefully, you’ll recognize the hidden symptoms below to begin the healing, forgiving process.
Hidden Symptoms of Bitterness
There are many expressions of the hidden symptom of bitterness. Phrases like, “That’s a bitter pill to swallow” or, “Don’t be bitter, be better!” But they don’t adequately describe how bitterness looks or feels in relationship to unforgiveness.
The proof is clear. You’re probably noticing outbursts of anger, as well as difficulty resolving conflicts. You are subtly attacking the one you “forgave” by talking badly and criticizing when alone with friends. Your communication is harsh and condemning instead of soft and life-giving. You are still suspicious and lack trust. Subconsciously you may secretly think of ways to get even.
Amos 6:12 says this about payback:
“Can horses gallop over boulders? Can oxen be used to plow them? But that’s how foolish you are when you turn justice into poison and the sweet fruit of righteousness into bitterness.”
Unfortunately, the poisoned revenge doesn’t bother her; it hurts you! In fact, it’s killing you. It’s stealing your real life hidden in Christs Jesus. You are drinking the poison then expecting her to die.
Bitterness shows up in all areas of your life – in all your relationships, in your thinking, in your walk with God, at your job, and how you feel about yourself. The symptoms can reside long after you tried to forgive. The hard truth is, if you still show evidence of bitterness, unforgiveness remains in your heart.
That’s bitterness, and when mixed with resentment it kills your spirit. You need the 3 ways to Stop Unforgiveness from Killing You Right now.
Hidden Symptoms of Resentment
Your unforgiving heart creates the hidden symptom of resentment. Like bitterness, resentment wreaks havoc in all areas of your life.
Resentment builds walls. To protect yourself, you created a tall, thick wall of resentment. It guards against future hurt. Your wall doesn’t just shield from future pain, but it also defends against future love. It surrounds your entire heart so nothing good or bad can get in. It subtly causes isolation. You created a mask which looks good on the outside, but inside you’re hiding and shielding your bruised, broken heart.
Within your relationship resentment comes out in passive-aggressiveness. Often you find yourself dwelling on what she (or he) did to you. The behavior that hurt you infiltrates your every thought which leads to a hardening of your heart.
The Bible calls anyone holding on to resentment a fool.
“Surely resentment destroys the fool, and jealousy kills the simple. (Job 5:2)”
“A stone is heavy, and sand is weighty, but the resentment caused by a fool is even heavier. (Proverbs 27:3)”
Unfortunately, by hardening your heart, you bring resentment upon yourself when making the decision not to forgive.
Hidden Symptoms of a Hardened Heart
Hiding behind the wall of resentment is the symptom of a hardened heart. It toughened over time as a way of protection, but you cannot be hard toward one person and soft toward another. Your rigid, unforgiving heart is stubborn toward God and others too.
To make your heart pliable, you must experience humility but even before that God must first break through bitterness and resentment. No one likes the position of a humble servant, but when you don’t choose, God puts you in situations to force humility. You can avoid the lesson by deciding on your own.
My frozen heart caused multiple problems throughout my life. I never knew I had hidden symptoms of unforgiveness deep inside. I thought I knew love, and how to love according to the spirit, but my love was always conditional, in every relationship. On top of that, my heart was stubbornly full of pride. I filtered everything through the lens of criticism; empathy for others was elusive.
God humbled me by putting me in circumstances where I became bottled-necked, forcing me to choose to forgive or continue in my misery. God didn’t push me; I still had an option, but I didn’t want to be miserable anymore, so I chose forgiveness. It was the right choice because now I’m free from the pain of unforgiveness.You’ll notice true forgiveness when the event comes to mind, and you feel no more pain. Click To Tweet
It’s possible you feel you’re letting her off the hook by forgiving. If so, it’s possible you believe other forgiveness myths are holding you back from finding freedom. Well, you need to know forgiveness is serious business in God’s Book. Jesus told Peter to forgive a debtor seventy times seven, literally meaning never stop forgiving. (Matthew 18:21-22) He had a reason for his response. He knows how an unforgiving heart damages you.
Finally, remember, these processes are painful (I don’t want to lie)…but temporary! Once you choose forgiveness, the softening process initiates. Then you receive healing and freedom. You’ll notice true forgiveness when the event comes to mind, and you feel no more pain.