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How to Recognize and Get Rid of Bitterness!       CM/FM 3170       2/98
By Peter

Dear Family,
       1. During July and August of 1997, I made a trip to Europe, holding meetings in Budapest, Moscow, Novosibirsk, Chelyabinsk, and Switzerland. I had the privilege of meeting about 500 Family members during that visit, which was an honor and blessing for me.
       2. Before leaving home, the Lord gave a number of messages in prophecy which became the basis for the classes given on that trip. Some of the messages were geared specifically to those in the European and Russian fields, while others were more general and applied to all of us. This Letter is based on material covered in those meetings, as well as some new messages the Lord has given recently.

Let Go of the Past and Focus on the Future!
       3. Everybody has wounds of some sort. We've all had negative or painful things happen to us, and that hurts, sometimes very deeply. The Lord said in prophecy: "I ask you to sit at My feet, to let Me sop your wounds and to heal your hurts. I wish to strengthen you and help you, and to pour the oil of My healing on the wounds of your heart and soul." The Lord wants to heal the hurts of your heart and He wants to sop your wounds, and the way He'll do that is through His healing, comforting Word.
       4. I'm going to share some very helpful and important prophecies in this Letter. Helpful because they give the answers about how to overcome these hurts, and important because He's explaining clearly that if you can't get over those hurts, if you don't get them out of your heart, if you don't truly forgive and forget, those hurts will become bitterness which will work against you in the spirit in a very serious way.
       5. The Lord is trying to help us all to move forward in the spirit, to prepare us for what's ahead. I pray that each one of you, when reading "Goals for 1998," made a commitment to the Lord to forsake any and all bitterness. (See Goal #14 in ML #3160:185-195.) The Lord wants us to grow in the spirit, to gain spiritual ground. When you have hurts, resentments, or bitterness from the past that you hold on to, it keeps you from moving forward. The following prophecy brings this point out clearly.

       6. {\b \i (Jesus speaking:)} Let go of past hurts, of past injustices. Get your eyes off your hurts, your wounds and your problems, and focus on the battle in front of you. In order to grow and be strengthened, you must set aside your hurts, your bitterness, your murmurings, your feelings of failure. You must set these things aside, for whether they are true or not, they hold you back and restrict you.
       7. These are the things that hold people back: doubt, fear, bitterness, murmuring and discontentment. That's what destroyed the children of Israel in the desert. So forsake the things of the past; lay those things aside.
       8. Those who truly long for a new day, a new start, and a new life, will latch on to this vision. They'll grab hold of it; they'll readily forsake those things, and go on. Those who love to hold on to the past, who cherish those feelings of hurt and self-pity, will fall by the wayside. (End of message from Jesus.)

       9. {\b \i (Peter:)} The Lord is encouraging you to let go of past heartaches and past injustices. It's time to get your eyes off the hurts and the wounds, to focus on what's ahead.

Regardless of the Reason for the Hurt, Now's the Time to Get Over It!
       10. There are many reasons why people have been hurt, such as:

              1) An unintentional lack of love. In other words, the person didn't mean to hurt you, but because of thoughtlessness, a lack of understanding of your situation, a lack of prayerfulness, or not being as tactful or loving as they should have been, it caused you pain or difficulty. When we asked the Lord about such unintentional hurts, He said: "I understand. I feel the pain that is in your heart, and I know it is just as real a pain as if someone intentionally wronged you. Because you don't see behind the scenes and can't now be comforted by seeing the facts of how it was not intended to hurt, the pain is just as real as any other hurt. You must let go of this pain and hurt just as you must let go of that from any other situations which cause you to feel negatively toward others. It won't help to try to brush it aside and pretend that it's not there, but you must lift it up to Me and let go of it. In this you will find peace." (End of message from Jesus.)

              2) There are also cases where people were aware that their actions were unloving or hurtful, but they went ahead anyway, and that hurt you. Hopefully there aren't too many instances of this type of behavior, but unfortunately there are probably some hurts which were intentional hurts.

              3) Then there are also times when things hurt you that probably shouldn't have. For example, there may have been a case where you needed some legitimate correction, but because you were sensitive or took it too personally, you were hurt by it.

       4) Or maybe there are some hurts that were brought about by circumstances that you misjudged, misconstrued, or completely imagined. Something was not intended to hurt you at all, but because you took it the wrong way, you were hurt. For example, say you walked into a room and overheard someone talking; you thought the conversation was about you, and you were hurt by it, but it really wasn't about you at all. In such a case, you could be harboring hurts that are completely unfounded.

       11. Regardless of the reason for the hurt you feel, clinging to that hurt holds you back and restricts you. Everyone who's reading this Letter has probably hurt someone at one time or another. I doubt very much that it was intentional, but we've all been guilty of times when we didn't have the love, concern or prayerfulness that we should have had, Lord help us! We're not trying to sort out where to place the blame or determine exactly which hurts were intentional and which weren't. The point we need to realize is that whatever the reason for the hurt, the Lord is asking us to give that hurt to Him and let go of it.
       12. Everyone has had some negative experience or something happen to them that was difficult to take, something which hurt, and if you haven't gotten over it, now is the time to do so. The Lord says you have to get your eyes off of those things, that now is the time to put these things behind you and to move forward. Because as you'll see as you read further, if you don't, it'll hold you back in the spirit. Those hurts or resentments, or that bitterness between you and others, or between you and past events, or between you and the Lord, hold you back, and if you continue to hold on to them, they will continue to hurt you even more.

Resentment Leads to Bitterness!
       13. Maybe you think this warning about bitterness doesn't apply to you, because you don't feel you're bitter. Maybe you just feel a little resentful toward someone or someones. Let me give you an analogy which will perhaps help you to better understand the dangers of resentment:
       14. If you're on a train or in a car going from one place to the next, you can follow your progress on a map as you pass from city to city, and you know how close you're getting to your destination. Right? Well, it's a little that way with bitterness too. If you're headed toward bitterness as your destination, there are certain points that you pass before you get there, and one of those points is resentment, which is defined as "indignation or ill will felt as a result of a real or imagined grievance."
       15. If you're traveling the road of your life and you pass the city of resentment, then know that you're getting closer to the city of bitterness. If you find yourself being resentful about things present or past, then know that you're on the road to bitterness and it's time to stop the vehicle, reassess where you're going, and ask the Lord to help you to make a U-turn in your life in these areas.
       16. In the analogy I just shared and throughout this Letter you will hear the terms "resentment" and "bitterness." You might wonder what is the difference between the two. That's a good question, and one which the Lord was happy to answer for us:

       17. {\b \i (Jesus speaking:)} Resentment can be the forerunner to bitterness, or a symptom of bitterness. Harboring resentment can lead to bitterness. Resentment doesn't always lead to bitterness, but many times it does, especially when resentment is allowed to build up, one resentment on top of another. It just gets worse and worse.
       18. When you resent something that someone has done, it's like a crack is opened in the door, and the Enemy's poisonous gas and lies can seep in through that crack. Or it's like a wedge that starts out small, but gets bigger and bigger, because it allows the Enemy to come in more and more with resentment and his poisonous thoughts. So even though resentment isn't bitterness in the beginning, it can lead to it, because it's a crack in the armor, that first little seed being planted.
       19. But feeling resentment in your heart doesn't necessarily mean you're bitter, as long as you turn around, cast your burdens on Me, and forsake the resentment you feel. When you lift up your hands to Me and say, "Lord, please wash me clean," then I am able to take the resentment and give you peace in its place, and I prevent it from turning to bitterness.
       20. However, when you hold on to these resentments, they fester and become bitterness, which is a much more serious and long-term problem. So forsaking the resentments as they come up, much like shedding the weights, is the key to staying free of bitterness. (End of message from Jesus.)


       "The dictionary defines resentment as 'anger or ill will in view of real or imagined wrong or injury,' and bitterness as 'anguished, long-standing resentment.' Nelson's Bible dictionary defines bitterness as 'a spiritual poisoning, great wickedness,' so it is much worse than resentment. Bitterness is not just from an annoyance, an irritation, or something that we simply don't like. It is a strong negative feeling which we have allowed to remain in the heart. With time it grows and grows, festering like an infected wound, poisoning and strangling our spiritual life.
       "Bitterness is not something that usually happens quickly, as it usually takes some time to fester and grow, like an infection in a wound. Not every little thing that happens to us which we don't like or resent grows into bitterness, unless we allow it to be fed by the Devil's poisons, and then allow it to spread.[DELETED] Bitterness is like the Devil's infectious mess, festering and silently destroying healthy areas it comes in contact with, and capable of circulating to poison others or the whole body if it's not stopped and purged out" (ML #2877:57,58,64, Lifelines 21).


Holding on to Those Hurts Is Dangerous!
       21. {\b \i (Peter:) }The Lord said earlier in this Letter, "Those who truly long for a new day, a new start and a new life, will latch on to this vision [EDITED: "of letting the past go"]. They'll readily forsake those things and go on. But those who love to hold on to the past, who cherish those feelings of hurt and self-pity, will fall by the wayside." That's how dangerous it is! There are people who don't want to let go of those things. They love to hold on to them. They don't want to forgive. They want to hold on to the hurts, and they bring them up on a regular basis. Whenever something happens in the present, their memories bring up the past. If somebody gives them a correction today, it raises all kinds of past hurts from years ago.
       22. You have to forgive and forget. The hurt, resentment and bitterness must be overcome; you must leave them behind. Because if you don't, if you cherish those feelings of hurt and self-pity, the Lord says you'll fall by the wayside. The Lord is making it quite clear that holding on to those hurts is dangerous, and it can lead you right out of the Lord's service.
       23. Every Family member has had bad or negative things happen in their lives sometime or other. Everyone's been hurt by someone or some event. It's also good to remember that bad things happen to everyone, whether they're in the Family or not. If you witness to people, you'll find many who will tell you about their troubles and all the bad things that have happened to them too.
       24. It's how you handle troubles, problems, hurt and disappointment, and what you do about them and how you get over them that counts. And, as the Lord said, if you don't get over them, if you love to hold on to them and keep bringing them up or regularly dwell on them, letting the past tarnish the beauty of the present, then it will eventually cause you to fall by the wayside. Of course, that won't necessarily happen immediately; it's sometimes a slow process. But in the meantime, as you hold on to the past and your bitterness, before you actually fall by the wayside and become completely useless to the Lord's service, you will be less fruitful, and certainly not as happy as you could otherwise be. So beware!

The Lord Uses Everyone's Mistakes in His Great Plan of Life!
       25. Some of you have some complaints about the treatment you've received from leaders; you were hurt, mistreated, misunderstood, etc. Thank the Lord, most of these kinds of problems happened in the past. But still, the hurts are very real, and if you haven't been able to get over them, they're very debilitating. Here's an important message dealing specifically with leaders who have hurt others, but more generally with how the Lord uses everyone's mistakes in His great plan of life.

       26. {\b \i (Jesus speaking:)} Yes, at times My leaders and shepherds have made mistakes. For no man, no matter how great or how close to My heart, is without fault. I have created all men to be weak, to make mistakes, to have faults and problems, and even to make wrong decisions, to fail. Yet even this is part of My plan, for through these things I teach and I strengthen.
       27. But though men may make mistakes, though they may fail, and though they may even cause hurt and pain to others of My children, yet know that I make no mistake. Know that even the mistakes of those who love Me, even when they affect others, still work together for My good and My purpose and My plan. For through these things I work in the hearts of all --of those who are chastened, perhaps even harshly or unfairly, and of those who mete out the discipline.
       28. In time, all will come to see the truth and understand all sides of the story, when they come to Me and meet Me in My Kingdom. For this life is only the beginning, only the start of the great learning process and the journey of life, the journey to complete spiritual maturity and understanding. You must look beyond this world and this life, and know that I have a greater plan, a more complete and full vision, which you could never even begin to conceive of nor understand. So you must not even try to fully comprehend and understand the workings of My Spirit and My hand. You must simply trust, believe, accept, receive, and go on in faith. You must believe My promise that I know, I care, I do all things in love, and I do all things for your good, because I love you and care for you. (End of message from Jesus.)

       29. {\b \i (Peter:) }The Lord says everybody makes mistakes, which includes your shepherds, your parents, your friends, your mate, your children, your teamworkers, your Home members, even you! It doesn't matter who you are or how close you are to the Lord, you're going to make mistakes. We're basically flawed creations in the sense that we fail, we hurt others, we do things that we shouldn't do. And the things that we should do, we often don't do. Others hurt us and we hurt others, which is why we must forgive and seek forgiveness.
       30. Of course, this does not by any stretch of the imagination mean that we should just blow all caution and prayerfulness to the wind, not caring about others or being concerned about how our actions will affect them. The Law of Love is the Scriptural principle that should govern all our actions, and that means we are to love the Lord above all else, and love our neighbor as ourselves. When we're loving our neighbor as ourselves, we won't want to hurt him or cause him pain. The Lord can take our hurts and pain and disappointments and bring good out of them, but it's not like we can foolishly or hatefully hurt others, thinking there will be no retribution for our sins or mistakes and it won't matter in the long run because the Lord will cause everything to work together for good. This is another side of Romans 8:28 that I will cover later in this Letter, but right now I want to draw your attention to another very important point.
       31. In the prophecy you just read, the Lord is saying that on this Earth, in this life, you'll never be able to understand all the whys and wherefores of everything that's happened to you. You're not going to be able to figure out in your mind why so-and-so did this to you and how they could have done such a thing. You're never going to be able to reconcile it in your mind. You'll never be able to figure out what was going on in everybody's minds and hearts in the situation that allowed these things to happen.
       32. But in the life to come, when you see the Lord, you'll come to a complete understanding of it all; perhaps when He reviews your life. Maybe then you can ask about those things you didn't understand, and you'll be able to find out all the whys and wherefores. Maybe He'll let you understand what was going on in the minds of others, or He'll help you to better realize what they were going through at that time which caused them to act in a certain way. But for now, you can't and won't fully understand, and you can't let that lack of understanding hold you back.
       33. What you need to do now is to put your desire to know and understand all the details about these past hurts behind you, and just let go of them. The Lord says you need to trust, believe, accept, receive, and know that He loves you and cares for you. Even though bad things have happened to you, the Lord wants you to overcome them. He wants to comfort you in them and help you through them.

The Promise of Romans 8:28!
       34. A lot of people have a question about the verse Romans 8:28: "All things work together for good to them that love the Lord, to them that are called according to His purpose." They feel like the Lord is saying that He wanted or planned all kinds of bad things to happen to them so good things will come from it. They interpret that as if to say, "It was the Lord's will, in fact His plan, for my shepherd to be so harsh with me in the past, or for this or that person to do those things that hurt me so deeply." When we asked the Lord about it, this is what He said:

       35. {\b \i (Jesus speaking:)} My precious children, how I love you! I have designed the mystery of life for you, My loves, and I have put within the majesty of choice this safeguard of protection for all My children. It's called the promise of Romans 8:28. It's My promise to you that no matter what happens in your life, no matter what the choices of those around you, I can and will perfect My plan in your life and turn all things for your good, as much as you'll let Me. As you love Me and trust Me in yieldedness, so am I able to take even bad situations and turn them to your good.
       36. It's not that I "will" these bad situations--for I wish all men to learn to love and to live in love. But because man is not perfect, and because you have the majesty of choice and you often make selfish choices, I gave you, My children who love Me, that promise as your safeguard, to know that no matter what the choices of those around you, I am able to turn them into good for you.
       37. As I said to My disciples while I was on Earth, "It must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh" (Mat.18:7). In this world there will be injustice, there will be selfishness, and there will be pain and difficulty inflicted on innocent people. But My promise to all My children is that I have the power to overrule the evil, and turn for good any circumstance that you find yourself in.
       38. This is one of the mysteries of My Spirit, how I have a plan so perfect that it cannot fail, and yet I give to you the majesty of choice and the power to change things according to your choices. But no matter what the choices of those around you, I am able to give you what's best for you. Do you believe that? Do you believe that I know what's best for you? That even though those around you make choices which are not according to My will, not according to My laws of love and loving life, I am still able to use them in your life to bring about the best? I am able, and I will--so long as you love Me and trust Me with your life.
       39. I will never cause the mistakes of others to deprive you of My best, My highest. It might be delayed, but I will have My way in your life regardless of the choices of others, if you keep the faith, fight, and don't give up. Sometimes what is "best" to Me is different than what you think of as "best." Sometimes My "best" means more brokenness, more compassion, more understanding of others, more humility. All of these qualities are part of My "best" in your life, and sometimes they come through breakings, and sometimes those breakings come through the wrongdoing of others.
       40. My children, it is not that I desire you to be hurt, or that I engineer hurtful situations or circumstances, but sometimes through the attacks of the Enemy or the mistakes or sins or wrong decisions of others, you do suffer hurt. Nevertheless, I am able to turn it to good for you. And though I may have to correct others or even punish them for their actions, I am able to turn it to good for them too if they will let Me.
       41. Trust in My love, that My plan is perfect, and that even when those around you act outside of the circle of My loving law, yet I am able to shield you and protect you, and only allow to touch you that which I am able to use for good in your life. Believe in this, My never-failing promise, and be set free! (End of message from Jesus.)

       42. {\b \i (Peter:) }Did you notice that in the above message the Lord said, "It's My promise to you that no matter what happens in your life, no matter what the choices of those around you, I can and will perfect My plan in your life and turn all things for your good, as much as you'll let Me"? I thought the phrase "as much as you'll let Me" was very interesting. It seems to imply that there are some conditions to this promise, or there is something we have to do for Romans 8:28 to be consistently true in our life. The Lord goes on to explain it a bit more, saying, "As you love Me and trust Me in yieldedness, so am I able to take even bad situations and turn them to your good."
       43. Mama and I were curious to have more information from the Lord on this subject. Also, we were eager to have the Lord speak about the Romans 8:28 aspect of problems or difficult situations that we cause or bring upon ourselves, which are different than the ones others cause us. We realize that a lot of anguish in people's lives is due to their remorse over their own bad choices or mistakes, things they alone are responsible for, rather than wrong things that were done to them or where they were the victim of another's wrong choices or unloving actions. Here is the Lord's excellent answer to both of these questions:

       44. {\b \i (Jesus speaking:)} The extent to which I am able to use circumstances in your life, and even perfect My will, depends upon you and how much you let Me have full sway in your life. My promise is true and unfailing--that I do all things well, that I will perfect that which concerns you, that all things will work together for good to those who love Me and are called according to My purpose. But the extent to which I'm able to work is up to you.
       45. Even as I've promised that I answer prayer--the power of the prayer, and thus the power of the answer--depends upon you. My promise of Romans 8:28--that I will work all things together for your good--is dependent upon the condition of Romans 8:28, that you love Me, and that you're called according to My purpose. If you're not heeding My call and thus not obeying My will, giving your life to Me and letting Me work, then I'm not only unable to turn bad situations for your good, but I'm also unable to bless and reward you, for you're out of My will.
       46. But the beauty of the promise is that the moment you come to Me, the moment you fulfill your part of the conditions--loving Me and yielding to Me--I begin to work, and use not only the present circumstances, but also all those of the past for your good. I am able to bring good out of all that has gone before, and all that happens presently, and all that will happen in the future, as long as you continue to fulfill the conditions of the promise.
       47. Thus is the beauty and mystery of My promise fulfilled, that no matter what mess you find yourself in, no matter what wrongs you've committed or what wrongs have been committed against you, when you're loving Me and yielded to My will, My purpose in your life, I am able to turn all things for your good.
       48. This doesn't mean that whenever something bad happens it's because you're out of My will. There are many times when I allow something specifically for the purpose of teaching a lesson, or to bring about a greater good, and it's through no fault of your own. But there are other times when you bring the difficulty upon yourself through your own foolishness or unyieldedness, or by straying from the path of My will. Other times it's through the wrong choices of those around you, or through your own wrong choices.
       49. But in any case, no matter what the cause of the wrong, as you love Me and yield to My will, My plan, and trust Me for the victory, I am able to use any and all circumstances to perfect My will in your life, and to bring about the victory. The only conditions to this promise are there in the promise--"to those who love Me, and are called according to My purpose." What does that mean, "to be called according to My purpose?" It means simply being in My will, fulfilling My purpose for you.
       50. It is not for you to judge My purpose, for sometimes My plan is simply waiting, simply trusting, simply yielding in patience and faith to what's coming next. Sometimes it's passing through the "Valley of Baca" (Psa.84:6) and learning there the lessons I have for you. Sometimes it's heeding My call to a great mission. Other times it's forsaking what's dear to you in order to fulfill My greater plan. Yet other times it's humbly serving in the small place I've given you. But no matter what the circumstance, as you fulfill My purpose for you, I will turn all things--even seemingly bad, difficult, wrongful circumstances--for your good! This is My promise to you, and it will never fail!
       51. If you feel that things have happened in your life that you've not yet seen good come out of, check your heart to see if you're fulfilling My purpose. If you are, then simply wait, and you'll see My promise fulfilled in My time. This is part of being called to My purpose--fulfilling the part I've given you to play in My great plan. Some things you'll not see fulfilled immediately, but the reward of the promise will come. It will come, I say. (End of message from Jesus.)

       52. {\b \i (Peter:) }What a tremendous, clear, helpful explanation! I hope this helps to lift some of the burdens of worry, remorse and condemnation that weigh you down, as well as motivate you to stay completely yielded to the Lord.
       53. I want to remind you again that of course Romans 8:28 isn't a license to act as you please, thinking that it doesn't matter anyway and it will turn out for good in those people's lives because they love the Lord, and it'll even turn out for good in your life as long as you repent somewhere down the line. People can be hurt by wrong, unloving decisions; you can be hurt. And the fact that the Lord can bring good out of it won't take away the fact that someone was hurt. It's not as if that hurt or pain never happened, but the Lord is able to take those circumstances--as dark, sad, hurtful, painful or unjust as they are--and turn them into good, eventually.
       54. The person who was affected by such wrong decisions or choices, whether it's you or someone else, will still remember that at one time he was hurt, but that hurt will not be the prominent thing in his life regarding that experience anymore. What will overwrite that hurt will be positive lessons--greater understanding or concern for others, greater prayerfulness, a desire to seek the Lord more diligently and consistently, greater appreciation for the Lord's blessings or protection, more love and compassion brought about through suffering, etc. There is much good that comes from past hurts. It's not as if the good erases the act that was wrong, but the Lord can work in your life to cause even wrongs to be made right. The key words are "made right." It's not like the previous unloving acts were right, but the Lord can help the hurt to be "made right," to be beneficial in some way.
       55. Of course, it's better to make loving, Word-based decisions. It's better to have your motives be loving and all your actions loving. But the Lord knew that every person, no matter how loving or wise, will make mistakes. No one's every decision is loving and completely in line with His will. That's why He had to give us the safeguard of Romans 8:28. Yes, we should all strive to do our best, but we will fail sometimes; it's inevitable. And the more broken we are through our mistakes, failures and breakings, the more we will appreciate the full truth of His promise of Romans 8:28.
       56. If you have questions about the Lord's will in your life and how He is causing all things to work together for good for you, please hear from Him in prophecy. You can ask Him your specific questions, and He won't fail to answer you and help you to understand things more clearly.

Holding on to Past Hurts, Resentments And Bitterness Damages You and Others
       57. As I mentioned earlier, everyone has faults and failings, including you. So when people do unloving or hurtful things to you, you must guard against falling into a self-righteous spirit. Here's a little jewel from the Lord along these lines:

       58. {\b \i (Jesus speaking:)} All men have faults and failings. Don't expect more of others than you do of yourself. Don't allow self-righteousness to come in and eat away at your meek, humble spirit, because it will destroy you by making you unhappy, unfulfilled, dissatisfied, discontent and disgruntled, which is the way of bitterness. You do well to stay meek and simple and humble and trusting. Continue to do so, and you'll find joy and satisfaction and fulfillment. (End of message from Jesus.)

       59. {\b \i (Peter:)} You should fight against getting critical toward people who you feel wronged you. You should resist the temptation to dwell on it and think bad thoughts about them. This negative, critical attitude will eat away at you. It will make you unhappy, unfulfilled, dissatisfied, discontented and bitter. The Lord tells us to stay simple, humble and trusting--trusting that He's going to work things out, trusting that someday you may understand, and even if you don't, trusting that He'll take care of it. If you don't let it go and cast it all on the Lord, it'll destroy you. This is the important point, and the point that you have to understand--that self-righteously holding on to these past hurts, resentments and bitternesses can cause a lot of damage to you, and not only you, but others also!
       60. When you feel resentful or bitter about something that someone once did to you, all of that negative emotion may not be directly affecting the other person. In fact, the other person might not even know how you feel; they might not even realize that they hurt you. But on the other hand, if the person you're bitter against is living in the same Home as you, your being bitter can make things very difficult for them. Or if they're living in a Home near you--or even if you don't ever see them--your negativity against them affects what you tell other people about them, which can travel through the grapevine and cause them to be unfairly and negatively labeled. Eventually all this can get back to them and wind up hurting them. So bitterness can have a great effect, either directly or indirectly, on those you are bitter against.
       61. Bitterness can also hurt other uninvolved people because bitterness affects your outlook on things, and can be a cloud of negativity over your relationships with others and your interaction with them. For example, if you're bitter against someone who broke your heart, then that can cause you to be closed and cold toward others who might want to get close to you, which hurts them. So there are many ways in which bitterness hurts others, not just yourself.
       62. I think you'll agree that those feelings of negativity that you have aren't accomplishing anything positive; they only continue to hurt you and others. It's essential that you work on overcoming them.

A List of Possible Hurts
       63. There are all kinds of things that might have hurt you in the past which you might have a hard time forgiving others for and putting behind you. Mama and I were thinking and praying about some of these, and though we could never list all of them, we thought the following list might at least cover some of the more common ones, which might help you to recognize if you have some bitterness in your life.

       1) In the past, a lot of our people have experienced unloving or unnecessary discipline that shouldn't have been administered. Mama and I are truly sorry some of you experienced discipline that was out of line. And even though some discipline may have been administered lovingly, and perhaps with good intentions, it may have been too much or perhaps was not needed at all.
       2) Maybe you've been disciplined for something that you felt was unfair. Maybe it was, and you shouldn't have been disciplined. Maybe you've been misunderstood, or you've been misjudged by others or by leadership. Perhaps disciplinary action was given based on some misunderstanding or on a false or incomplete report.
       3) Maybe you've had the feeling that others expected too much of you or took advantage of you.
       4) Perhaps people have joined your Home and have dragged it down in some way; maybe they influenced your children negatively, or they caused disunity in your Home.
       5) Maybe you've been voted out of a Home.
       6) Perhaps you've been voted off a teamwork and you don't understand why.
       7) Perhaps you feel you've been overworked. Maybe you spent many hours taking care of kids or working in the Home or witnessing, and you got burned out in your jobs.
       8) Maybe you've been the victim of somebody's double standard. They held you to a certain standard, saying you shouldn't be doing a certain thing, but they did the very things they were telling you not to do.
       9) Perhaps you've had people in your Home who weren't committed and were more interested in their rights, while forgetting their responsibilities, which caused major disunity and other problems.
       10) Maybe you're young, and you've been in a Home with somebody who's a major old bottle, quite stuck in a rut, who won't listen to any new ideas or suggested changes. Perhaps this caused you to be disillusioned about the Family.
       11) Maybe you've had serious or very difficult marriage problems.
       12) Maybe you're separated from your mate and are unhappy about it, and feel some hurt toward him or her or the circumstances surrounding your separation.
       13) Perhaps your parents separated and you didn't understand why. Maybe you grew up without having one of your parents, and that hurt you and made you feel bad. Maybe you were left with your mother, and your dad went off someplace else and you're resentful about that. Maybe you're resentful against your dad or your mom, or against the Lord, the Family, or the Law of Love and sharing.
       14) Maybe you were separated, and then your mate eventually got re-mated and is now happy with a new family, and you're a single parent with the children from your marriage. It hurts you to be in that situation, and it hurts you to see that your mate seems to be happy, and you resent that.
       15) Maybe you're a single mom and it's hard for you. The Home doesn't help you as much as they should, and you don't understand why the Lord has allowed you to be in such a situation.
       16) Perhaps in the past you've had unwanted sexual encounters and things that have happened to you in that area which hurt you, and it's hard to forgive.
       17) Maybe people in your Home don't listen to you. You feel your vote doesn't count for much or people aren't interested in what you have to say and in your opinion, and that hurts you.
       18) Maybe you were put on Fellow Member status at some time in the Family and you feel it was done unfairly. Or maybe it was done fairly but harshly, or without enough explanation. Maybe you just got a letter that said you're now a Fellow Member, and you didn't understand how you could have given so many years of your life to the Family, and with just a letter your Charter Member status was taken away from you.
       19) Maybe you were hurt in a past marriage or relationship and this has affected your present relationships or made it hard to open up to others.
       20) Perhaps you've had financial problems of some sort that have caused you hurt, or you've suffered from a lack of support while other nearby Homes have had more support or provisioning, but refused to share.
       21) Perhaps you're bitter because of how you've suffered with health problems, or the health problems of your children.
       22) It's possible that you've been neglected due to the favoritism of leadership or your parents or other folks in your Home, so you don't feel very loved or accepted.
       23) Maybe you've had an unexpected pregnancy, or you feel the burden and stress of caring for the many children in your larger personal family.
       24) A last point--which isn't something that's happened to you or that others have done to you, but which is a very common point of resentment or bitterness--is negative comparing in regards to your physical appearance and the gifts and talents the Lord has given you; not being happy with the way the Lord made you.

       64. Perhaps these or other things have happened to you. Or maybe you know other Family members they've happened to and they've talked to you about it, and it then pulls you into their circle of resentment too. You also start resenting the people who did those things to your friend or to your loved one, and it creates a broader circle of resentment, a spirit of unhappiness and lack of forgiveness.
       65. Mama and I are very sad when we hear about things like these. We're sorry if you've been hurt. We acknowledge that some bad things have happened, and we acknowledge that these things may have hurt you. Nothing can change the fact if it happened. But the effect that it has on you today, if you're still holding on to it, can be changed. It can be buried, it can be left behind, it can be shed, and victory can come out of it. Good can come out of it, and you can find a real freedom in letting those things go.

Bitterness Is a Serious Problem in the Family Today!
       66. After we made the above list, the Lord gave the following prophecy which describes what a serious problem bitterness is in the Family today. The Lord also lists further reasons why some people are bitter.

       67. {\b \i (Jesus speaking:)} Bitterness is one of the biggest problems in the Family today. A majority of the people are bitter about something, and a lot of their bitterness is tied to the subjects that were addressed as roadblocks to unity. People are bitter because of their jealousy and the way they feel their loved one, their mate, or their boyfriend or girlfriend has hurt them. A lot of people are bitter about the Law of Love and the way they've seen it practiced. They feel that some marriages have broken up and people have been hurt as a result of living the Law of Love.
       68. People are bitter about the sharing of their goods and the living of Acts 2:44 and 45. People are bitter about the lack of care for single mothers and their children, and the lack of living the "One Wife" vision. Some people are bitter about the New Wine and the direction the Family is taking, which they feel is off-center or off-balance. Some people are bitter that they're on home fields; they feel that the circumstances which necessitated their returning to home fields were unfair, or that they were harshly judged and their situations were not understood. Some people are bitter about the handling of the Fellow Members. Some people are bitter about their young people leaving the Family and the care, or rather the lack of care, that they feel their kids received in recent years.
       69. Some people are bitter because of a lack of finances in their Home or the Homes in their area. Other people are bitter because of the distribution of personnel, and they feel that Service Homes have what they consider an overabundance of the most talented or gifted people, as well as better support, better provisioning, and more attention of leadership. Some people are bitter because of the greater use of prophecy in the Family today and the emphasis on the need to come back to Me again and again to confirm My will and get specific instructions with each step.
       70. Bitterness is a serious problem, and if people don't come to grips with their bitterness, they're going to miss what I'm doing in their lives, and they're going to be left behind. Bitterness is a serious, serious spiritual problem that is causing many to miss the spiritual progress that I want them to make in their lives. (End of message from Jesus.)

       71. {\b \i (Peter:) }I don't know how much clearer the Lord has to be, or how many more times He has to say that bitterness is a very serious problem that is hindering a lot of people in the Family. Again the Lord brings out that if you don't deal with your bitterness, you risk being left behind. This is serious business, and something we all need to take note of!

How Bitterness Blocks Your Vision
       72. Now I want to share with you something Dad said on the effects of bitterness.

       73. {\b \i (Dad speaking:)} When you have bitterness or resentment in your heart, you often don't see things clearly. Even special little things, little rewards of the Lord's love, don't mean as much, because you have this big bitterness blocking everything. But once you just give that to the Lord, we up Here can help you so much more. Things are a lot clearer, you can see things better, and you feel and experience the Lord's love a lot more.
       74. Keep giving it to the Lord. Keep coming to the Lord and loving Him and committing all to Him, and He never fails. Even if people fail, or situations fail, or you feel like the Family has failed in some way, or that those you loved and respected and looked up to didn't make a place for you--the Lord never fails! His plan never fails, His love never fails, and He has His hand on your life. So if you can trust in that and believe that, you'll be a lot happier. (End of message from Dad.)

       75. {\b \i (Peter:) }A very interesting thing that Dad brings out is that when you have bitterness or resentment in your heart, it's a blockage, and the result is that you don't see things clearly. He also said that once you just give that to the Lord, those in the Heavenly realm can help you so much more, and the power of those in the spirit world can be released more effectively on your behalf. Dad makes it quite clear that if you get rid of this bitterness and resentment you'll see things more clearly, you'll feel and experience the Lord's love a lot more, and you'll have more help from the spirit world.
       76. Now think about the time since Dad went to be with the Lord. What are some of the things the Lord has been trying to teach us? He's certainly been trying to teach us to be more in touch with the spirit world, right? There's Letter after Letter about that. Well, right here in this prophecy Dad is saying that if you get rid of your bitterness or resentment, then your Heavenly helpers can help you so much more. Conversely, when you have those kinds of hurts and resentments and bitternesses in your heart, those of the spirit world can't help you as effectively; thus it keeps you from moving forward in a major area which the Lord is trying to get us to progress in, which is being in touch with the spirit world.
       77. Another major push in the Spirit has been for us to love the Lord more and experience His love, be closer to Him and more intimate. Dad states that if you overcome bitterness and resentment "you feel and experience the Lord's love a lot more." So again, the reverse goes like this: If you don't give this bitterness and resentment to the Lord, then you can't feel and experience the Lord's love as much. It's a blockage in your spiritual life.
       78. The Lord wants us to hear from the spirit world; He wants us to be connected in that way. He wants us to be closer to Him and more intimate. But He's saying that if we hold on to these resentments and hurts of the past, those things keep us from moving forward and going where the Lord is moving today. Do you see that? It's another reason why it's very important to get rid of these things.

The Damaging Effects of Bitterness in Our Lives
       79. This next message from the Lord explains more about the nature of bitterness and the very detrimental effect it has on our lives.
       80. {\b \i (Jesus speaking:) }When you're bitter, I can't offer you full protection. When you're bitter, you can't fully raise a standard against the Enemy and his attacks. When you're bitter, you become hardened to My voice and to the checks of My Spirit, because bitterness is the result of pride and unyieldedness and lack of forgiveness. The longer you entertain bitterness, the more influence it has over your heart and mind and spirit. Those who are bitter are those who have not heard and received and acted upon My still, small voice when I said to them, "Forgive. Forgive and forget."
       81. Often those who are bitter do not want to forgive and forget, because they feel that they're right, that they've been wronged, and they deserve to make a case for their bitterness. They feel they deserve to see those who have hurt them suffer. They desire to see those who have hurt them punished.
       82. Bitterness equals pride. Bitterness equals unyieldedness. Bitterness equals lack of forgiveness. Bitterness is a sin. It's wrong, and it can separate you from Me, My blessings, and My protection. Those who entertain bitterness cut themselves off from the flow of My Spirit. Bitterness is like a slow poison that weakens and kills slowly but surely, day by day.
       83. Those who are bitter are not just bitter against those who have wronged them, but they're also bitter against Me, because I allowed it. They feel that I failed, that I was unjust, that I turned My back on them when I allowed something so horrible and so unfair to befall them, when they felt they were so undeserving of such treatment. Bitterness not only builds a wall between the person who's bitter and the person they feel has wronged them, but it also builds a wall between the bitter person and Me.
       84. Bitterness is the result of lack of faith, lack of trust, thinking you know better, and self-righteously wanting to judge and rule and cause the other person to suffer as you have suffered. But these attitudes of heart and mind don't bring Me closer, and don't cause My Spirit to reign freely in your life. They don't cause you to draw nigh to Me, that I might draw nigh to you, but instead they have the opposite effect. Bitterness causes you to be distant, unbelieving, and it quenches the flow of your love toward Me. It causes you to be closed and hard and resistant to the flow of My love toward you.
       85. If bitterness is allowed to follow its course, it will only make you weaker and weaker and weaker, and with time, your heart and mind will be more receptive to the doubts of the Enemy. Bitterness is like a plow that plows up the soil of your heart and prepares it for the seeds of the Enemy's evil doubts. So forgive now, that you might find freedom from the Devil's devices.
       86. Bitterness is born in pride; for when you're bitter, you feel that you know better than God. You feel that if you had been God, you never would have allowed it, and things would be different; things would be better. Bitterness is akin to doubt, because those who doubt also feel that they know better--that they know better than their shepherds, they know better than their king and queen, they know better than God, and if they could do things differently, they would do them better. So beware of bitterness! (End of message from Jesus.)

       87. {\b \i (Peter:) }Do you see how bitterness held in your heart is so damaging? Listen to this list of things it does:

       * It keeps you from receiving the Lord's full protection.

       * It keeps you from fully raising a standard against the Enemy and his attacks.

       * It hardens you to the voice of the Lord and to the checks of His Spirit.

       * It keeps you from hearing His voice.

       * It separates you from the Lord, and from His blessings and protection.

       * It cuts you off from the flow of the Spirit.

       * It's a slow poison that weakens and kills slowly but surely, day by day.

       * It doesn't allow the Lord's Spirit to reign freely in your life.

       * It causes you to be distant and unbelieving.

       * It quenches the flow of your love toward the Lord, and causes you to be closed, hard and resistant to the flow of His love toward you.

       88. And here's the shocking list of serious sins which the Lord says can either result in bitterness, can be closely related to bitterness, or are sometimes the same as bitterness: pride, unyieldedness, lack of forgiveness, self-righteousness, lack of faith, lack of trust, desire for revenge, resistance to the Lord's love, and doubting God and His Word.
       89. In what direction has the Lord been moving the Family lately? Hasn't He been encouraging us to hear His voice in prophecy more and to be sensitive to the checks from the spirit world? Hasn't He been encouraging us to let His Spirit flow through us, to let His Spirit reign freely in our lives? Hasn't He been encouraging us to have our love flow towards Him, and for us to receive the flow of His love towards us? Hasn't He wanted us to have full faith and resist the doubts of the Enemy? If you have bitterness, it keeps you from doing this. Hasn't He wanted to give us His full protection and blessings? Hasn't He wanted to help us to fully raise a standard against the Enemy? If you have bitterness, it keeps Him from doing this.
       90. Every move of the Spirit which the Lord is trying to bring about in our lives today is hindered if we have bitterness and resentment in our heart. He doesn't say that if you have bitterness you don't have any protection, any blessings, or any flow of love between Him and you, or that you don't hear His voice or the checks of His Spirit at all. It's just that you don't have the full protection; the flow of love is quenched. So if you get rid of the bitterness, these things can be enhanced and you can more fully partake of them.
       91. We need everything that the Lord has for us, but these resentments and bitterness and things of the past hinder our receiving all that He wants to so richly pour out. The Lord wants you to partake of His blessings fully, but you have to let go of the things of the past.

The Lord's Temptation with Bitterness--And How He Got Over It!
       92. The following message is one in which the Lord talks about how He was tempted with resentfulness and bitterness while on Earth. It's so neat how the Lord has been sharing more of His personal testimony in various prophecies. As a Family we're being much more intimate with Him, so He's being more intimate with us. He's speaking to us much less formally and sharing much more about His life on Earth, which is a very special privilege for us, a very unique and priceless blessing resulting from His great love for us.

       93. {\b \i (Jesus speaking:)} My Word says that I was tempted in all points as you are, yet without sin. I had to resist the temptation to be resentful or critical of My Own people, the Jews. I left the wonderful paradise of My Father's Kingdom to come to Earth to try to help and set My people, Israel, free. But they rejected the love that I had to give, the help that I had to offer them. I went out of My way to give them love, to care for their needs, to heal their sick, to raise the dead, to give sight to the blind, yet they still rejected Me and the love that I had for them.
       94. Though the temptation was to become resentful and critical of their lack of appreciation, their lack of love, their lack of humility, and their lack of thankfulness, instead I prayed. I prayed desperately! Instead of My being resentful and critical and bitter, My Father broke My heart for the people. Instead of negative emotions, I felt only love and compassion and empathy. It wasn't easy; it was a big battle. In fact, at one point I even said, "Oh, how long must I suffer this generation? How long must I be with you!"
       95. There was so much unbelief, so much resentment of the love and the sample that I was showing, that I was tempted to want to quit giving, to want to quit helping, to want to quit going out of My way to do things for people. But instead, as the Bible tells you, I wept. I wept bitterly for the people. I wept for their lack of understanding of My ways.
       96. So don't harden your heart to giving. Don't allow resentfulness, critical thoughts or bitterness to enter into your life. Those things are not from My Father, they're not from Me, and they're not from the Spirit of Love. They're from the Devil's kingdom, from the spirit of darkness, trying to make you discontent, bitter, dissatisfied and unhappy. The Devil knows that if he can accomplish that, he can stop you from giving My love and showing people that I'm a loving God and a giving God, willing to make any sacrifice.
       97. I've promised that whatever you give, I will return a hundredfold. If you're giving the gifts of My Spirit to others and showing My love to them, no matter how much you lose in this world, you'll be gaining in eternal rewards. So keep giving. Keep loving. Keep taking care of others, asking nothing in return, expecting nothing in return, and you'll lay up for yourself great rewards in Heaven, for which you will be eternally thankful and grateful. (End of message from Jesus.)

       98. {\b \i (Peter:)} When you have negative feelings about people who've hurt you and you get resentful, it makes you want to stop giving and stop helping others. Perhaps in the past you tried to help someone, or your Home tried to help another Home, and you got burned, so now you're resentful about it. When that kind of thing happens, you think twice about helping someone else, thinking that the same thing might happen again. It causes you to not want to give any more, to not want to sacrifice. The Lord said He was tempted with the same thing. He was tempted to quit giving and helping, and to quit going out of His way to do things for people. But He didn't quit! He prayed. He brought it to His Father. He got over it. He didn't let it settle in His heart. He didn't let it affect Him.
       99. He went on the attack about it and prayed and asked His Father to help Him, which is exactly what you need to do if you have bitterness or resentment. You have to desperately ask the Lord to help you overcome it. Because as He said, if you don't, then the Enemy is accomplishing his task in your life, which keeps you from showing that God is a loving God and a giving God, Who's willing to make any sacrifice.
       100. When you have this attitude of not giving because of past hurts, it causes you to close your life to others. When you're that way and others around you see that you're not giving of yourself, then they tend to become that way as well. If your Home is that way in its interaction with other nearby Homes, then the other Homes tend to become that way too, and pretty soon that selfish, withdrawn, unconcerned spirit begins to permeate the Family. It works against the love which we're supposed to have and show to one another.

Jesus Feels Your Pain and Wants to Heal It!
       101. Jesus loves you so very much. He feels your pain and wants to heal it, as He brings out in the following message.

       102. {\b \i (Jesus speaking:)} My heart aches to see the heartache that you have felt, for I feel the pain, the anger, the regret, the remorse, the feeling of being hurt, of being angered by the faults and mistakes and even the sins of others. I know how this hurts, and I know that it's the nature of man to want to retaliate, to want revenge, to fight against forsaking and forgiving and putting these things completely behind you. For to truly forgive and forget is one of the most difficult things for any man. This is something that can only be done through Me and through My Spirit. For this is My Spirit--My Spirit is love; My Spirit is forgiveness.
       103. The whole reason that I came to Earth and lived and died in human flesh was for the very purpose of unjustly suffering, being hurt, so that others might have life and love, and so that you, My children, might be able to extend forgiveness one to another. For only through Me can you be freed from these roots of bitterness that the Enemy seeks to use to entangle your heart, that he seeks to wrap around you so that you become stuck and cannot move further in your service to Me.
       104. I'm here for you, waiting to lift this load of bitterness, anger, and deep sorrow--this burden that you've been carrying around. Just stop, sit down, take it off, and give it to Me. Just say, "Jesus, take this. I don't want it anymore. I'm tired of it." I'll take it, and I'll throw it away. I'll make it disappear forever, so that you can once again feel the brightness and lightness of My love and the happy joy of My Spirit as you serve Me and work for Me.
       105. I'm here, waiting to wipe it all away and make clean the slate of your heart and mind. Just ask Me. Just say, "Erase it all, Jesus. White it out." I'll send the refreshing rain and the clean, white snow of My love to cover the bloodstained ground, made so by the wounds and the hurts and the pain. I'll make you whole again.
       106. Just reach out for Me. I'm here, and I love you, and I want nothing more than for you and I to be able to fully and deeply rejoice in each other's love and fond embrace. That's what I live for and breathe for. That's what I want and desire, and that's why I chose to come to Earth, to endure the pain that I did, so that I might be able to help you in your times of pain, that I might help you out of it and over it, and that we might enjoy wonderful, blissful love together, now and forever. (End of message from Jesus.)

       107. {\b \i (Peter:) }How very beautiful that is! The Lord is bringing out another truth about bitterness, that the Enemy uses it to entangle your heart. He takes those roots of bitterness and wraps them around you so that you become stuck and can't move further in your service to the Lord. He uses it to try to stop you and your work for the Lord.
       108. Forgiving and forgetting, the Lord says, is one of the most difficult things for a person to do, and it can only be done through His Spirit. But if you just give it to the Lord, He'll take it. If you tell Him, "Jesus, take this. I don't want it anymore. I'm tired of it," He says He'll take it and make it disappear forever. He'll cover the bloodstained ground that was made so by the wounds and the hurts and the pain. He'll make you whole again.
       109. Mama and I ask you to do just that--to come before the Lord with any hurts that have occurred in your past. Ask the Lord to take them away. Tell the Lord that you forgive whoever it was that hurt you, and ask Him to take away any pain or hurt or negative thoughts about it. Tell the Lord that you don't want these things to hold you back, but that instead you want to be rid of them forever, so that His Spirit can flow through you freely, and you can have His full protection and other full benefits, which you cannot have if you hold on to bitterness or resentment.

       110. {\b \i (Jesus speaking:)} I watch over each of My children with great love. I give them what they need. I give it to them at the time that they need it, and in the way they need it, and I make no mistake. I even use the mistakes of man to bring about My perfect will. For I know and understand the thoughts and the intents of the heart of every man. And though two people may never understand each other, and though some may never understand why one acted a certain way, and thus may find it hard in themselves to forgive, yet they can find relief from bitterness and find the strength to forgive by coming to Me and putting all things into My hand.
       111. All things in your life are from Me. Do you think that I could not protect you and keep you from all harm if I wanted to, if that was the big plan of creation? Of course I could. All power is given unto Me. But I allow difficulties, pain, heartache, disappointment, mistreatment, injury, misuse and abuse. What I mean is, by not preventing it, I allow it. Therefore it is from Me, from My hand, because I did not raise My hand to stay it.
       112. This is the foundation principle to getting over hurts of the past: You must believe that all in your life is from Me, in that I allowed it. If you can't receive this and have it strongly and ever in your heart and mind, then the temptation is always there to blame someone. People want to blame others. That's why it costs so much sometimes to forgive and forget.
       113. When you forgive, you are releasing someone of the blame. And if you're holding on to that blame and self-righteously wanting to make others pay and suffer, then there is no forgiveness. The more of these emotions there are, the harder it is to realize that whatever the experience in question, it was from My hand, allowed by Me, even if not ordained or preferred by Me. To allow something when it is in your power to stop it is to take it as your own. Therefore, when I allow something, the act of not preventing it makes it as good as from My Own hand.
       114. When you truly lay these bitternesses upon My altar, when you truly commit them into My hand and receive and accept all things as from Me, then I'm able to work a miracle in your heart and life. I'm able to pour My healing elixir of love into your heart in full measure. I'm able to soothe and heal and mend. I'm able to bind up the broken heart and make it a more loving, compassionate, tender and giving heart. I'm able to make you a stronger, better person, a more powerful channel and vessel of My love, and a pillar that others may lean on.
       115. For when you lean on Me and when you cast yourself on Me, you're leaning on the greatest and most powerful source of wisdom, strength, help, grace and love. You're tapping into the divine resources, into the power that created the universe; and with this power, nothing can defeat you or discourage you or stop you. With Me, you are mighty in spirit, and no attack of the Enemy, no trial or tribulation, no act by another person, can move you. For I am the Rock, and My way is perfect. My Words are tried and proven, and I have never forsaken those that have put their trust in Me and cast their cares upon Me. (End of message from Jesus.)

       116. {\b \i (Peter:) }Like the Lord said, He understands all the situations and the heart of every man. You may never understand why someone has done a certain thing, or why they think the way they do, or why they acted that way, or why they did whatever it was they did to you. You may never understand--but it's not a matter of understanding, it's a matter of forgiving. As the Lord said earlier, forgiving and forgetting is one of the hardest things for a person to have to do in life. It's so difficult, it's so unnatural, and that's why He says you need Him to find the strength to do it. You get that strength and grace by coming to Him and putting these things into His hand.
       117. Part of this prophecy is like one of those "if/then" clauses you see in the Bible, where the Lord says, "If you do this, then I will do that." In this case, He says that "when you do this, then I'm able to do that." He says when you truly lay these bitternesses on His altar and you truly commit them into His hand, when you, with all of your heart, bring these things to the Lord, and you also receive and accept all things as from Him, then He's able to work a miracle in your heart and life. Then He's able to pour His healing elixir of love into your heart in full measure.
       118. Once you give this bitterness or resentment or past hurt to the Lord, then He's able to heal you fully. You must accept that these things happened, and even though the Lord may not have wanted them to, they did, and He's been able to use them in your life to teach you something. You must give the hurt of them to Him, even if you don't understand why they happened in the first place. You must place it all in His hands, asking Him to take it and to heal the hurt you feel in your heart, and He will. He says He'll pour His healing elixir of love on you in full measure.
       119. Of course the Lord's able to pour His healing elixir of love on you now to a certain degree, even if you have these things in your heart. But if you get rid of these hindrances, He can give His healing elixir to you in full measure. He can soothe, He can heal, He can mend. He can heal any hurt, any pain, any past.
       120. He says He can give you "a more loving, compassionate, tender and giving heart." He says, "I am able to make you a stronger, better person, a more powerful channel and vessel of My love, and a pillar that others may lean on." Those are all things we want. We all want to be better people. We want to be stronger in the Spirit. Most of us want to be better channels for the Lord, to hear His voice, have Him work through us more, and have His Spirit flow freely through us. We want to be vessels of His love and pillars that others can lean on. He says, "When you lay these bitternesses upon My altar and you receive and accept all things as from Me, then I'm able to work a miracle in your heart and life" and do all of these things.
       121. I implore you to give these things up to the Lord, because it's good for you and benefits you in the spirit in every way. If you don't do it, it works against you in almost every way. It works against everything the Lord is trying to do today in the Family and in the Spirit.
       122. All of the moves of the Lord's Spirit--being praiseful, being intimate with Jesus, hearing from the Lord, tuning in to the Spirit--all of this is part of your preparation for what's ahead. As you read in "Victory Review '97," the Lord said that these are the days of preparation for the dark days which are coming. You can see those days approaching if you look and discern the signs of the times. He wants us to get prepared, but resentment and bitterness in your life are things that work against you becoming prepared. If you don't shed them, then you won't be ready. These things will hold you back.
       123. In fact, the Lord even said that if you desire these negative things, if you like to hold on to them and you revel in self-pity and the past and the hurts, that you'll fall by the wayside. Don't let it happen to you, especially when all you have to do is bring them to the Lord and give them to Him. Forgive, forsake, forget, and move forward, and as you do, He will fill you with His Spirit. He'll make you the channel that you want to be. He'll give you a loving, tender, compassionate, giving heart. In other words, He'll make you more like Him.

How to Recognize If You Have Bitterness in Your Life
       124. At this point, chances are you're very sincerely searching your heart to see if you have any bitterness that's standing in the way of your progress. In some cases you might already be aware of a problem along these lines, but in other situations, it seems bitterness can be very subtle and hard to recognize in yourself. Mama and I have known a number of people who were quite surprised to realize that they were harboring bitterness against someone or against the Lord.
       125. Mama asked one of the channels in our Home to hear from the Lord about how to recognize if you have bitterness. She prayed specifically that He would give a list of "symptoms" that we can look out for that could indicate if we are bitter about something. Along the lines of symptoms, she also asked the Lord specifically if repeated battles in some area of your life, even though you sincerely feel you've been doing all you can to yield, hear from the Lord, fight, pray, etc., could be a sign that there's an underlying cause of bitterness that's preventing you from getting a full victory. We pray the following message will be a help to you and a key to unlock any chains of bitterness that have you bound.

       126. {\b \i (Jesus speaking:)} Bitterness is like a deadly root, and like a root, it is much unseen from the surface. The only parts which are seen are the leaves and branches which grow from it, and the fruit it bears. While it is unseen, it flourishes in the soil of your heart and gains strength, sucking out the very life and nourishment of the earth, and cumbering the ground so that none other of My tender plants may grow in that area. The wise man sees this and recognizes the root of bitterness, and is not ashamed to bring out the shovel and dig it up and rid himself of it. He knows that there's no shame in tending the garden of his heart and getting rid of the weeds; the only shame is in letting them grow and letting the crop spoil.
       127. Because bitterness is hard to detect, and yet I wish for all My children and farmers to root it out of their hearts, I will give you a description to help you in looking for it in your own heart. Bitterness begins small, as a tiny seed. The seeds come in many different forms: when you feel wronged by another; when you make a mistake or think you've made a mistake, and cannot forgive yourself for it; when you compare with others and feel they have it so much better than you; when you look at the life you're living and feel that if I really loved you, I would have given you something else, or would have taken better care of you. These are all seeds of bitterness.
       128. When you have a root of bitterness growing in your heart, that area of the ground becomes unusable for other plants. The ground becomes contaminated, and that part of your heart often becomes sore or easily irritated. This is one symptom of bitterness--being easily irritated in a certain area, or finding you easily resent certain types of situations. If certain circumstances repeatedly cause you battles, and you've taken the necessary steps to purge the garden of your heart of weeds, to water the flowers, and tend that area of the garden, and yet you still seem to be having problems, that's one symptom that you have a root of bitterness growing there, and you must dig it up and get rid of it.
       129. Other symptoms of bitterness include: when you have sour or negative feelings toward a certain person, circumstance, or even toward yourself; when you're unable to accept others' forgiveness or My forgiveness; when you're unable to accept others' love and help; when you're unable to change as My Spirit blows with the winds of change, and you wish to hang on to the old and do not wish to step out and reach forward; when certain negative events continually play through your mind or you're reminded of them often. These are often symptoms of bitterness.
       130. To truly forgive is to forgive and forget. Even though the memory of something is not gone from your mind immediately, when you do remember it, it's covered with the cloak of forgiveness and doesn't bring up a sour or bitter taste in your mouth. When it does, this is a symptom of bitterness, and you must ask Me to help to root it out, and help you to truly forgive and forget in love.
       131. Other symptoms also include: not wanting to reach out to give love; not wanting to give or share freely for fear that you'll be wronged or hurt; not wanting to open your heart to others; dwelling in the past, or feeling that past times were better.
       132. Murmuring is the voice of bitterness. Discontentment is a symptom of bitterness. Resentment is one of the arms of bitterness, which reaches out to hurt and strangle others.
       133. The symptoms of bitterness are hard to detect. The best way to find out if you have a root of bitterness in your life is to ask Me. Ask Me to search the ground of your heart, and see if I show you or point out to you an area where you should look. Then, if you find something, ask Me what to do about it, how to get rid of it, how to uproot the bitterness in this area of your life, and what caused it.
       134. It's a long and tedious process if you go about looking for bitterness yourself. For your heart is like a garden with many flowers and plants--some for nourishment, some for decoration, some for medicinal purposes, others for spice. All of these plants are like the feelings, the personality traits, the thoughts, the actions, the inner workings of your heart. Some are good, some are bad. Some must be pulled out as weeds and gotten rid of; others must be gently tended, nurtured, and cared for, in order to bring about the full beauty or the full fruit.
       135. There are many other symptoms of bitterness, for it's varied, and it's different in each person's life. These symptoms don't always come from bitterness--sometimes they stem from other problems. So the best way to tell if you have a root of bitterness is to ask the Master Gardener. If you're having a problem in some part of your garden, if the good and loving plants are dying, or your ground is sore and troublesome, ask Him for the answer, for He will give it and will help to correct the problem, whatever it may be. (End of excerpt of message from Jesus.)

       136. {\b \i (Peter:) }The Lord says twice in the above message that bitterness is hard to detect, but He's doing all He can to help us to recognize it by giving us a list of very specific "symptoms" which indicate the probable presence of bitterness in our life. Those "symptoms" are:

       1) You feel wronged by another.
       2) You made a mistake, or think you made a mistake, and can't forgive yourself for it.
       3) You compare with others and feel they have it so much better than you.
       4) You look at the life you're living and feel that if the Lord really loved you, He would have given you something else, or would have taken better care of you.
       5) You're easily irritated in a certain area, or you find you easily resent certain types of situations.
       6) Certain circumstances repeatedly cause you battles. Even after you've taken the necessary steps in the spirit to get the victory, you're still having problems.
       7) You have sour or negative feelings toward a certain person, circumstance, or even toward yourself.
       8) You're unable to accept others' forgiveness or the Lord's forgiveness.
       9) You're unable to accept others' love and help.
       10) You're unable to change as the Spirit blows with the winds of change; you wish to hang on to the old and don't wish to step out and reach forward.
       11) Certain negative events continually play through your mind, or you're reminded of them often.
       12) You remember something, and figuratively speaking, it brings up a sour or bitter taste in your mouth.
       13) You don't want to reach out to give love.
       14) You don't want to give or share freely, for fear that you'll be wronged or hurt.
       15) You don't want to open your heart to others.
       16) You're dwelling in the past, or feeling that past times were better.
       17) Murmuring is the voice of bitterness.
       18) Discontentment is a symptom of bitterness.
       19) Resentment is one of the arms of bitterness, which reaches out to hurt and strangle others.

       137. Please take the time right now to prayerfully review the above list, and if you feel there is a possibility that you're bitter in any way, then please do as the Lord suggests--pray about it. Ask Him to speak to you in prophecy and to explain if you have bitterness in your heart, and if so, what the root of it is, what caused it, what you should do about it, and how to get rid of it.
       138. Please note that the Lord mentions above that you can be bitter about mistakes you've made, or think you've made. Many people torment themselves with remorse, regret, even condemnation for mistakes they feel they've made which aren't mistakes at all. But because they don't go to the Lord and ask Him to speak to them and show them His perspective on their decisions and supposed mistakes, they're left without the peace that He could give them, and they feel regretful, remorseful, and eventually even bitter about their choices, experiences, and what they think are mistakes.
       139. It's important to realize that bitterness can come from not only bona fide mistakes, but even things that you think are mistakes but are not. If you think something is a sin--or a mistake--and you don't have the faith for what you've done, then to you it does become a sin or a mistake, until you can go to the Lord and get His perspective and receive His forgiveness and freedom.
       140. The Devil will use anything he can to bring bitterness into your life--even choices, decisions and experiences that are perfectly within the Lord's will, but which the Enemy can wrongly convince you are mistakes. If he can get you to doubt, be discontent and resentful, then he knows that bitterness will follow. If you're weak in the Word, weak in faith, weak in hearing from the Lord, then the Enemy can even use things that are lawful and allowed and within the Lord's will to bring you into the darkness of bitterness, and thereby steal your joy, peace, and clear connection with the Lord.
       141. So when you're praying about how you might be bitter, remember that some of the things you may consider mistakes might not be mistakes at all, from the Lord's perspective. He can make this and everything else related to your attitudes and experiences clear, if you'll just go to Him and hear His specific Words of encouragement and instruction.

The Importance of Having United Prayer
       142. Also, please pay special attention to this next portion of prophecy which explains clearly the importance of asking for prayer if you find you are burdened with bitterness.

       143. {\b \i (Jesus continues:)} A root of bitterness is not easily taken care of. You can't kill it or get rid of it by simply covering it over with more dirt, or planting new flowers there, or even placing a slab of marble or concrete over it, or a new bench or garden ornament. You must remove the dirt and dig it up completely, asking the Master Gardener for His help to get out all the traces of the root, to clean and purify the soil of your heart, and then to help you fill in the gap with fresh earth, new plants, flowers and trees to take its place.
       144. Only the Master Gardener is able to perform the operation successfully, and it's often one in which He calls others to help. Getting rid of a root of bitterness in your life often requires asking for prayer from others, confessing and humbling yourself, and thereby letting the Master Gardener and His workers have full access to the area of your garden which needs help.
       145. Again, there's nothing to be ashamed of if you find you have a root of bitterness in your life, but it is something to be taken care of. The only thing to be ashamed of is if you find or suspect you have a root of bitterness and you don't go on the attack to root it out and get rid of it. For it grows quickly and can quickly spoil the garden. The larger it grows, the harder it is to dig it out, and the more upheaval it causes to the rest of the garden.
       146. Though it's an evil and powerful weed with a strong root, yet My love is much stronger! My love is the antidote for bitterness. My love and My forgiveness are able to cover a multitude of sins. My love is stronger, greater, and more powerful than bitterness, and the moment that you cry out to Me for deliverance, I'm there, ready to help you to root out the bitterness from the garden of your heart, and fill the earth again with My love, My peace, My joy, My contentment, the gifts of My Spirit, and the beautiful flowers and fruit trees which could not grow there before.
       147. I'm ready and willing! All of My children must only ask, and I will help, save and deliver them! (End of message from Jesus.)

       148. {\b \i (Peter:) }Did you notice that the Lord repeated twice that discovering you have bitterness is not something to be ashamed of? Detecting a problem is nothing that should blacken your reputation or cause you to be labeled as a terrible, bitter problem case. Hopefully, no one will be criticizing you or looking at you negatively. If you feel you're bitter about something, the important thing is that you don't try to hide it, ignore it, or just try to deal with it on your own. You don't need to be embarrassed or ashamed. What you do need to do is to go on the attack and rid yourself of whatever is bothering you. The longer you wait, the stronger the root will become, and the more difficult it will be to overcome it!
       149. Since bitterness is a common problem in the Family today, lots of people need prayer to be set free from its bondage. Your being open, honest, and desperate for help might even help others to come forward to get the help and prayer that they need too.
       150. In the above message the Lord says, "Getting rid of a root of bitterness in your life often requires asking for prayer from others, confessing and humbling yourself, and thereby letting the Master Gardener and His workers have full access to the area of your garden which needs help." The Lord made very clear the importance of asking for prayer, but I want to draw your attention to the phrase that says we also need to "let the Master Gardener and His workers have full access to the area of your garden which needs help." Letting Him have "full access" means total yieldedness, and a major part of yieldedness is accepting what the Lord has done or is doing in your life, as He explains in this next message.

Three Keys to Victory: Accept, Believe and Receive!
       151. {\b \i (Jesus speaking:)} Accepting, believing and receiving--these are three of My keys to victory! These are all part of yieldedness. Saying, "Yes, Lord, I accept what You're doing, or have done, in My life. I believe that all that I'm experiencing at present, or have experienced in the past, is from Your hand, and I yield to You completely and wholeheartedly. Do with me as You will." This is yieldedness. This is one of the surest preventions of bitterness, and one of the surest cures to overcoming bitterness--to accept, believe, and receive My will, My love, and My truth in your life.
       152. You must accept what's happening, or has happened, around you, and believe that My promise is true--that I'm in control, and have been in control. Nothing happens and not a hair of your head perishes but I know. Even seemingly bad, difficult or trying circumstances I am able to turn and use for your good. You must receive what I bring, or have brought, into your life. You must open your life to Me and receive, if I am to work in your heart as I would wish. (End of message from Jesus.)

       153. {\b \i (Peter:) }If you've really been struggling with something, if you've tried and tried to overcome a weak area, a besetting sin, a feeling of resentment or bitterness against others or the Lord, then maybe there's something that you're not accepting--some truth in the New Wine, some change the Lord wants you to make, some sacrifice you've had to endure, or something you've had to give up. Maybe there's some area in your heart that you've not yet yielded, because there's something you've not yet accepted, which is the first step. Not accepting something the Lord is doing in your life prevents total yieldedness. If you feel this might be the case with you, please seek the Lord and hear from Him. He'll be happy--eager, in fact--to reveal these things to you and help you to take whatever steps are needed to overcome. (For more on the need and benefits of asking for prayer, please see "Freedom Through United Prayer" in GN 776.)

Trust Me!
       154. Here's one last short message from Heaven, but it's a key to the whole matter.

       155. {\b \i (Jesus speaking:)} Believe in My love, and you will find rest. You'll find the peace and the comfort needed to let go of that which you have stored in your heart. You'll find the strength you need by looking to Me to sweep out the dark corners of your heart, and to let go of the pain, hurt and bitterness that you've allowed to grow and accumulate in your heart. This will be such a release! You have but to call on the power of Heaven to cleanse and wash you. Confess your faults to Me, and I will heal you.
       156. The key to all of this is found in one simple word--trust. Trust that I will hold you as you let go of these things you've been holding on to for such a long time. Trust Me to clean out your heart, and to give you a new life. Trust Me to hold your heart gently as you give it to Me for cleaning and mending. I'll return it to you pure and perfect--perfect in My love, mercy, tenderness, and humility. For in humility will you find the perfection of My Spirit.
       157. As you put forth the effort of trusting Me, then I will take over and do the work. I'll clean out your heart if you will but say yes to Me. If you'll but acknowledge that you wish to rid the chambers of your heart of the old, of the musty, of the dark and damp clutter, and that you wish to start anew, to be swept clean, washed afresh, and rejuvenated by the power of My Spirit, I will answer you. I've heard your prayer and your cries, and I'll give you life once more--the life of My Spirit and the joy of My love. Trust, accept, believe and receive! (End of message from Jesus.)

       158. {\b \i (Peter:) }Won't you do just that? Please do! It will change your life!
       With love and prayers,

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family