There’s more to life than getting the last laugh. A farmer was beside himself dealing with infestation in his watermelon patch. Every time he went to check the plot of maturing melons for weeds, he noticed watermelons missing. To make matters worse, he discovered the culprits weren’t birds or bugs or wild animals, but children.

When darkness fell, the farmer watched through his windows as the children had a watermelon feast at his expense. Then he came up with an ingenious plan.

The next evening, the children were surprised to find a sign which said, “ONE OF THESE WATERMELONS IS POISONED!” So they left the patch empty-handed.

The farmer relaxed and tended to his watermelons as before. He had no more trouble from the children for the rest of the week. He thought he got the last laugh.

But near the beginning of the following week, the farmer found a new sign planted right beside the other one, which said, “NOW THERE ARE TWO!” Who really got the last laugh?

Bitterness always makes trouble. It’s easy to allow it to take root when we feel we have been unjustly treated, but it is better for us to submit to injustice than to nourish a spirit of bitterness or retaliation. This includes internalizing our negative feelings. Even if we don’t vocalize our feelings, the truth will soon come out in our actions. The root of bitterness quickly grows into an ugly weed which defiles us and others. We must confess this sin, lest it choke out our spiritual fruit and God’s blessings.

Maybe you were wronged by a close friend and you never dealt with it, but chose instead to harbor resentment towards them. Or perhaps something terrible happened to you which was beyond your control, and you’ve never forgiven God. We’ve all experienced disappointment. It’s a part of life—but we have to get over it. Otherwise, it will be a blockade to our blessings.

If this is where you struggle, pray this prayer:

Lord, I know You are in control and will never allow anything in my life to destroy me. Therefore use whatever trials You have allowed in my life to make me the person You want me to be.

Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. — Unknown Author

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.