This is a matador vine, which is found in the jungles of South America. This vine takes root in the crevasses of the tree and slowly begins to grow. As it grows, it wraps tendrils around the tree that grow larger and clasp tighter as it climbs skyward, eventually killing the tree. Once to the top, a flower blooms and scatters its seeds, starting the process over again.
I was struck by what a powerful picture this is of how bitterness can slowly creep into our lives and destroy us emotionally, physically, and spiritually. No one ever sets out to be bitter and it is often years in the making. But it is does strangle us and makes our lives miserable, forcing us often to engage in unhealthy behaviors to numb our feelings.
Are you bitter? You may be asking yourself, "How did I get here? How did I become so bitter?" The process usually begins when you are wronged. Maybe you are a victim of horrific abuse and your abuser isn't sorry. Maybe something was taken from you unjustly and you want it back. Maybe you are angry with God that He could have allowed you to be hurt so badly. Maybe you don't want to forgive. Maybe you want revenge, restitution, justice.
The enemy pounces on those feelings and uses it as an opportunity to pull us away from God and turn to other things to make our pain go away. Eating disorders, alcohol, drugs, sex--anything to deaden the pain of what we are feeling. This pushes us into a cycle of destruction and bitterness feeds that cycle.
Friend, I don't know what you have been through, but God calls us to forgiveness. Not to excuse the wrongs that have happened or to make them go away. But God calls you to forgive so that the pain doesn't ruin us. In the short term, unforgiveness offers relief, but in the long run, it just eats away at your heart. It allows the accuser to continue to hurt you over and over again by what was done in the past. I would bet that it is not hurting them any longer. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a peace that helps you go on with life (Philippians 4:7).
God sent His Son to pay the ultimate sacrifice for all of our sins. Christ died on the cross so that we can be free! Don't let the poison of bitterness keep you from walking in freedom. Lay it down and allow God to restore you.
More information on the Matador Vine can be found here