In Truman Capote’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, we meet Holly Golightly. She is a New York socialite struggling between two lives.
In her past, she was Lula Mae, a fourteen-year-old who stole turkey eggs to survive.
In her present, she can’t seem to commit to any relationship.
These two worlds collide when she learns that her beloved brother dies while she simultaneously rejects the one person who appears to accept her and all of her foibles. Her past and her present are both uncertain.
What is the temptation of the human heart when there is unresolved hurt from the past and an unsecured present? Bitterness. Bitterness, by definition, is unresolved conflict with either a person or God. Either type is toxic.
Believe it not, Holly Golightly is a lot like King David in 1 Samuel 22. Yep. I just said that. King David and Holly Golightly are a lot alike.
You see, King David has an unresolved past and a shaky present. He deceived Ahimelech, the priest, and because of that, King Saul orders the death of Ahimelech, 85 priests, and every man, woman, child, and livestock from Nob, the city of priests. Additionally, David is the anointed king of God’s people, but he doesn’t sit on the throne.
David could be overwhelmed with guilt.
He could shake his fist at God.
He could ball up into fetal position and give up.
What does he do?
1 Samuel 22:20 But one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. 21 And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 And David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have occasioned the death of all the persons of your father’s house. 23 Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life. With me you shall be in safekeeping.”
David takes responsibility for his sins, and he commits to protecting Ahimelech going forward. David doesn’t know what’s going to happen next, but he knows blame shifting is not going to work. Getting angry God is not to work. He owns his sin and commits to faithfulness in the present.
That’s what we are all called to do when we struggle with bitterness. Ephesians shows us how:
Ephesians 4: 25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Put away falsehood or excuses. Speak truth where necessary. Repent. Put away bitterness and wrath, and seek to forgive as Christ forgave you. Not easy, but it is the pathway out of bitterness and a protection against potential bitterness.
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