Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Overcoming Bitterness

Chuckle: "A human-resources manager was going over one candidate's application. At the end of the line, 'Sign Here,' the woman had written, 'Pisces.' " --James Dent
Quote: "The person who is busy counting his blessings has no time to take inventory of his injuries." --William Arthur Ward

Last time we saw that harboring bitterness can destroy us.  But God’s Word tells us how to avoid becoming bitter and how to overcome any bitterness that may have taken root in your heart. Such bitterness can harm your relationships with others and ultimately rob you of the  joy that can come from service for our Lord.  Let’s look at three translations of Hebrews 12:15.
"See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many" (NIV). "Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble (NKJV).  Here is yet another way of saying the first phrase of this verse: "Look after each other so that none of you will miss out on the special favor of God" (NLT).
You cannot miss the strong message that each of us should have a special concern for our fellow believers and help them grow in Christ. You can just feel the love, warmness, and oneness among believers that the writer of Hebrews is advocating. This kind of relationship is based on unconditional love and mutual respect for one another. Such a relationship among Christians will be used of God to bless the lives of non-believers and draw them to Christ.
We are also warned about letting bitterness disrupt our relationships. Like a small root that grows into a huge tree, even the smallest bitter feeling toward another can grow into a monster that destroys even our most cherished Christian relationships. Such bitterness, if left unchecked, can become so deep-rooted within our souls that it is difficult to weed out. A "bitter root" sometimes comes when we don't get our way; or when we allow disappointment in others to grow into resentment; or when we nurse grudges over past hurts. The fruits of bitterness include jealousy, dissension, and general disharmony in the fellowship.
It's so easy to rationalize and justify our bitterness, especially when we feel we have become the object of unkindness or mistreatment. You may say, "After what that person did to me, I have every right to be bitter." If you are trying to justify your bitterness, beware that if that bitterness is allowed to fester and grow, you can become so used to living with it that it becomes a permanent part of your personality.
You may become comfortable with your bitterness, but no one else will be. Others will be repulsed and driven away. God knows that bitterness will eventually destroy you. He understands the final outcome of uncontrolled bitterness and anger. If you are harboring bitterness, you should understand that there is nothing so deeply imbedded in your heart that God cannot root out and remove. When we allow the indwelling Holy Spirit to take control of our lives, he can heal even the deepest of hurts that result in bitterness.
If you choose to live with anger and bitterness in your heart, you are denying God's grace the opportunity to set you free from these horrible feelings that rob you of your joy. Why not go to God in prayer asking forgiveness for harboring that bitterness in your heart and let him take it away and replace it with his peace and joy? Then to complete your restoration process, go to the person to whom you are embittered and ask his/her forgiveness as well.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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