Bitterness and Church: by Hannah McCleary

So I wrote something down.

My thoughts after my first time at church all semester…

I’ve lost control of my bitterness, Like a drug habit.  It started out small and localized, an occasional craving to judge and perceive the actions of others as potential to be hurt or offended. I used it as a defense mechanism against hurt.  If I’m high on doubt and distrust, I can pretend I never cared for that intimacy/acceptance/inclusion etc. At first I thought I had control of it…”I can stop being bitter whenever I want. I’m simply choosing to let it out to play.” But i think it has grown to control me. It has crept into areas of my life I never thought it would.

This morning I realized that what I thought was manageable bitterness has manifested itself as a generalized perception of church as a place of inauthenticity and judgement.  Which has led to an aversion from the place all together. I sleep in on Sundays in stubbornness and arrogance. “I don’t need to go to my meeting, I won’t learn anything new. I have it under control.” And its keeping me from the very place, the very person, who could cure all of my internal frustration.

I’m wallowing. I’m held captive by my own negativity, and I’ve been tricked into thinking even Jesus couldn’t solve my problems. As if a little bitterness is too big for him. (Arrogance again)

So I sat in my first service in months and hear of disciples questioning Jesus because he doesn’t act like they always hoped he would.

They’re offended, and what he’s teaching is hard.

“You do not want to leave too do you?” He asks them.

Do I? Me? Did I really turn away for so long because I was convinced something or someone else could give me the comfort of friends, fellowship, attention, purpose I want, when I want it? Seems silly when you picture Jesus really in front of you asking, “do you really want to go?”

Where else will I go? I know somewhere deep down there’s nothing for me elsewhere. Maybe it took trying to do it without him all semester to truly understand the nothingness, the death that exists outside of him.

I can’t control my habit on my own. I’ve kept it from him for too long, assumed I had it under control. I wanted to preserve it as a security blanket. But as it creeps outward into the most precious areas of my life I have no choice but to snap out of it, and ask him for help.

I’m not strong enough to control my bad habit. But Jesus, you are. I’m sorry my arrogance and anger and bitterness has led me elsewhere for so long. But where else will I go? In you there is no bitterness. There is security in vulnerability. There is freedom from anger. In you there is life.

Maybe I didn’t believe that until now.

James 1:27

John 6:67



About Troughts

Just a regular guy trying to understand mystery
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