Throughout life, we have moments, many of them, where we must deal with disappointment. I mean, we lose our job, or a relationship ends. We lose the big game, or we lose someone we love. Disappointment comes when we expect one thing and get something totally different and far worse. The Bible tells us that we will face disappointment in life because we live in a fallen creation, and due to that fact, disappointment is something that every person must deal with throughout their life. Disappointment comes in different ways, and it comes with varying degrees of pain. I mean, you may be disappointed that the waiter got your order wrong, but it does not compare to the disappointment when someone close to you fails you. You can be disappointed that you did not get the big project at work, but it does not compare to the disappointment of losing your job. The disappointment that comes from a stranger or someone you hardly know is much different than the disappointment that comes from someone you trust. So, the fact is that we all face different degrees of disappointment, and we cannot live a life where we are never disappointed.
What we can control is what we allow disappointment to do to us. Disappointment, especially deep disappointment, almost all ways cause us pain. With pain comes anger over what may or may not have been done to us or for us. Disappoint leads to hurt, and hurt leads to anger, but what then? When we have pain and anger, we also have choices on what we do with that anger. We can lash out, and we can do something to get even, but that never takes away the pain of the disappointment it only brings more pain, and it is not what being a Christian is all about. Or we can sit on it and let the anger turn into bitterness where we never recover from the disappointment but allow it to affect us throughout our lives and rob us of the blessings of God. Bitterness is me drinking the poison, hoping that someone else dies. Not very productive. Or we can do something else. We can forgive and move forward in the Holy Ghost. Now let me be clear, getting angry is not a sin. The Bible says, “Be angry and sin not.” Anger in itself is not sinful; if it was, I am not sure anyone would make heaven. But what we do with anger can be sinful if it is not dealt with properly. Some have been disappointed in loved ones, and rather than forgive, and they hold on to the anger until it becomes bitter, affecting every relationship they have in their lives. We must allow God to turn our disappointment back into joy, but how? Let me give you a few things.
1. Pray God help you forgive
First, there must be forgiveness for those that disappointed you in the beginning. If you fail to forgive, then you will never start the healing process. Now I say pray for this because some people have hurt you so deeply that only the Holy Ghost can give you the power to forgive them. I think of my wife and her great testimony in this area. You can read about it in her book “Get the Past out of your Future.” She talks of a time when God moved in her life so mightily that when she saw a person who had abused her as a sick child, God replaced it with compassion rather than anger. She talks of how shocked she was by this and how it had to be, as she puts it, a “God thing”. The first step to getting over disappointment is forgiveness.
2. Stop rehearsing the story
Second, stop telling the story over and over, even to yourself. Most of us like to let everyone know how hurt we are, and though talking it out can help when done constructively, we must stop rehearsing the story. After a while, we must let it go. If we have forgiven the person, then we cannot keep allowing the pain to resurface, and one of the ways that it does that is by continuing to bring it up. Have you ever told a painful story only to feel the anger rising in you as you are telling it? Even though it happened years ago, that same anger comes back. The anger is a sign that you have not dealt with it and may need to pray and forgive some more. Let me be clear forgiveness is not trust. I can forgive someone for hurting me or disappointing me, but that does not mean that I must trust them again.
3. Move forward
Third, move on with your life. When you allow bitterness from disappointment to set in, it robs of you the joy of life. Every time you move forward, the enemy will make sure that you remember that painful moment and all those unresolved feelings will come back to the surface and stop you in your tracks. When you forgive and let the Holy Ghost heal the hurt, you will not be stopped from achieving something great. Bitterness is a thief of your peace and joy, and you have to fight against that by moving forward. The hurt of yesterday should not affect the promise of tomorrow. If your trust is in God, then He has you in His hands, and there is nothing that people can do to stop you from achieving all He has for you.
None of us can avoid disappointment, hurt, pain, betrayal, or anger, but we can control how we deal with it and how we allow it to affect us moving forward. We must be willing to give it to Jesus and allow Him to heal us through our forgiveness of those that have wronged us or disappointed us. We must not allow ourselves to open the door to bitterness and wrath but must open the door of God’s blessings into our lives through mercy and love. If bitterness has a hold on you, forgive and ask God to help you walk out of that dark place into His marvelous light.