Better Than Bitter

A friend recently wrote to us commenting about the high level of corruption here and the things that have happened to our family and friends. She keeps up with our blog and knows about the challenges we deal with on a daily basis. She wanted to know if I ever find myself becoming bitter and how I combat bitterness.

Kinshasa traffic in the West Democratic Republic of the Congo

Kinshasa traffic in the West Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo by Myndee Clancy.

My first reaction was sorrow that my attitude and words may have already conveyed a bitter spirit. Obviously, one way to combat bitterness is to have friends who can hold us accountable if they see it creeping in.

Preventing bitterness and anger from creeping in is also easier when I remember that the sins of those who mistreat me or others around me are no less responsible for sending Christ to the cross than my own sins. We all need forgiveness.

Street vendors in Kinshasa

Street vendors in Kinshasa. Photo by Myndee Clancy.

It is also hard to stay angry about my own circumstances when I focus on the people we came here to serve and those we work with, rather than on myself. Yes, there is a lot of evil and corruption here. That’s why MAF’s presence is still so vital here. Whether in the airplane, the hangar, or the community, we can be lights in the darkness.

The problems and needs here are so great that sometimes we feel as though we are throwing cups of water at a forest fire. We feel helpless, even angry at times. But when we are spent and empty, God is there to fill us with his love, mercy and grace if we just turn to Him instead of relying on our own strength. It is not human nature to love someone who oppresses or exploits others, but God enables us if we but let Him. If we are continually letting Him fill us, we can choose to become better instead of bitter.

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