Let All Bitterness Be Put Away

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“Let All Bitterness Be Put Away,” Ensign, Feb. 1993, 57

Let All Bitterness Be Put Away

I sat at the window looking at God’s new day. The snow fell—silent, soft, and white. I wondered at the beauty as the newfallen snow shimmered like diamonds. Yet in a few short hours, the snow would become dirty with the soot from neighborhood chimneys and passing cars.

Life, I realized, was much like the newfallen snow. It can change so quickly, and before a person realizes what has happened, the soot of life can blemish hope.

My life had changed so much within the last few years. I had gone through a traumatic divorce and seen the effects of it on my family. I found myself repeatedly asking the same questions: Why me? Haven’t I tried to live worthily? Haven’t I raised my sons in the gospel? Why is God punishing me? Like the soot that tarnished the snow, bitterness had tarnished my soul.

I quit praying to a God I didn’t feel would listen. My heart had hardened, and I no longer cried. The words of bitterness I spoke towards those who had done me harm only poisoned me further. I felt my friends could not possibly understand, and I turned my back on those willing to help.

I recognized something was wrong, knew something was missing. I felt a darkness in my life and yearned for the light I had previously experienced. But I didn’t know where to start.

One afternoon, my Relief Society visiting teachers came to my home for their monthly visit. Their message was simple, but it had tremendous impact. During the visit, we read a scripture that seemed custom-tailored to my situation:

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:31–32.)

These words of scripture were the answer to my receiving the light again.

That evening, in the quiet of my room, I fell to my knees in prayer. It had been a long time, and the shame was hard to bear. The lump in my throat made speaking difficult, but finally the words came as I truly conversed with God.

I prayed that I could be forgiven for the things I had done. I prayed that I might be forgiven so I could forgive. I asked that I would be able to feel again. I needed to be able to cry again and heal my heart.

Bittersweet tears fell down my face as I realized that if I didn’t forgive others, I couldn’t be forgiven. Not forgiving others would hurt me the most. I had to drink of the cup of forgiveness to be healed.

I also needed the commodity of time to heal. I realized it would not happen overnight, but for the first time I felt healing was possible. Obstacles still appeared in my way, and Satan tried to discourage me. But at last the time came when I knew I could accomplish anything with Heavenly Father’s help. I was not alone, nor had I ever been.

Illustrated by Tyler Lybbert