Ok, I'm just going to lay this out there, I'm still struggling to find the difference between those two words. In my life, I honestly can't seem to separate the two!
But I am learning.
More than a few of my experiences in life have shown me that if you become vulnerable with someone, they begin to take advantage of you. And it hurts. Everytime. Tears are inevitable for me, and bitterness easily takes root in my weak flesh.
And contrarily, some of the best moments in some of the best relationships come when I've totally laid my heart out there and they've received me, despite my sin with love, comfort, and gentle correction and accountibility. Tears are inevitable for both of us, and somehow the tears aren't as painful or embarassing when someone is just as brokenhearted over my sin as me.
I've lived in the aforementioned bitterness because of "more than a few" experiences. I've reveled in it, complained about it to my husband and to others who would listen. I've been corrected about it, several times. I've asked God to rid me of it. But ultimately, over the past couple of years, I've shut myself in a steel box with it. I've held fast to it and didn't allow anything in.
So far, I sound kind-of hopeless don't I? I can't help but laugh at myself. I feel so pathetic reading that last paragraph!
But I am learning.
At least, I'm opening my gigantic steel box. Just a crack.
Learning Point #1: There are people who will take advantage of me when I am vulnerable! It happens. I've experienced it. Christians, non-christians, both.
Learning Point #2: Ultimately, I need to get over it. But more than that, I need to forgive them. Everyday, if necessary. I repeat some version of, "Even though they hurt me, I still need to love them." when I'm in a bitter mood.
Learning Point #3: More often than not, love means honesty, and especially if a believer is the one who hurt me, I need to be honest with them (according to scripture). Often they will admit they were wrong and we'll discuss how to improve our relationship. Sometimes, which has only happened to me once or twice, they will continue in their ways.
Learning Point #4: It's ok to not trust everyone I meet. And it's ok to not trust those who have broken my trust. I'm not talking about acquaintance trust, but deep trust. I still tend to generally trust people not to mug me upon that first handshake, you know.
Learning Point #5: It's even more important to find someone I can trust!!! I can't shut everyone out because one person hurt me. This was/is the hardest part for me. For at least a year, I didn't trust anyone. I kept everything to myself, in that steel box. But the people in my life that I can share everything with, I cherish more than anything.
Finally, I would simply like to share with the world today that I am pathetic. I am often a pushover and allow myself to be taken advantage of. I am more often bitter at everything that has wronged me.
It actually makes sense that I'm that way. I am a child in need of a Savior. He loves me. He wants me to love everyone around me. And He wants me to have fellowship with those who will sharpen me.
So I will not be conquered by my sin! I trust Him, who sees me in my most vulnerable states.