I remember the first time I watched The Wizard of Oz. I was so upset when I realized the Great and Powerful Oz was simply a grey haired man behind a curtain. In my young heart I was devastated for Dorothy and her friends who had travelled so far and hoped for so much . . . I was disillusioned right along with them.
As I've been reading and learning and searching and praying about bitterness the parallel is a powerful lesson.
Bitterness is big and loud, a mean face with colored smoke and thunder - The Great OZ - it shakes you where you stand so you back up and don't come any closer. It intimidate and scares, it threatens and attacks our peace of mind and confidence.
Yet in reality, behind the big, ugly, loud, mean bitterness (in others and in ourselves) is small fear. Puny in its form, but ashamed, small, and cowering.
Let me show you. Trust me for a minute. I want you to see something.
There is something in your heart that you're bitter about. Oh, you've called it many things, but it's bitterness. Maybe towards some one, some thing, some situation . . . and it gnaws at you. It's angry, ugly, jealous, contempt . . . maybe something you've never even shared with anyone . . . but it's bitter.
See the colored smoke whirl around it, the loudness, in fact, let it get as big and mean as it can possibly get. Let it take its true form, as ugly, spiteful, vengeful, angry as it can get. I hope you'll even turn up the volume and let the words and thunder explode and shake . . .
Ok now. Look to the side and see the small curtain. Carefully pull it back. And let the production, the smoke, the big ugly image, the noise . . . let it stop.
And see what's really behind the curtain.
The big production of bitterness is simply the distraction of our own heart and mind - to distract us from our greatest fear.
"What if its true? What if I really am broken?"
"What if I really am unloveable?"
"What if I really am too far gone?"
"What if I'm really a loser?"
"What if I really am . . . blank . . . "
"What if I really have sinned too much?"
"What if I really do need help . . . "
"What if what they say is true?"
"What if that person never loved me?"
"What if I really did deserve this?"
"What if I can't ever succeed?"
. . . add your real fear here . . .
"What if I really am these things . . . and people really knew . . . "
Bitterness is our minds way of rerouting us away from our real pain. Our real fear.
Now look at that fear - look at it for what it really is. A scared, shaking, big-eyed, lonely hurt.
THAT question is what you take to God Himself. You don't take it to your friends, you don't take it to your ex, you don't take it to Anthony Robbins or Dr. Phil, you don't take it to your old boss who fired you, you don't take it to your church . . . you take that very real fear to God.
You take it to the Bible and find out what God says about it. You take it to God in prayer and listen for an answer from Jesus Himself. You take it as a handwritten letter to the cross and nail it there for Jesus to read and reply . . . HIMSELF.
Only then will the smoke, the thundering, the anger, the production of bitterness disappear from the stage of your life.
The production and ugliness of bitterness is a decoy - to fool you so you won't feel what you really feel anyway.
Bitterness yells, "Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain" - closure says, what's behind the curtain fuels the whole production.
Heal what's behind the curtain. Then bitterness in all its ugliness can disappear.
And what would your life be like if there were sweetness, closure, and peace?
Click your heels together. Come home to yourself. Come home to what's really hurting you. Come home to God and the bigger things He wants to do with your heart.
Face the fear behind the curtain and come home.