Ephesians 4:31 (NKJV) 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, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Looking at bitterness in a way of learning and growing.
I read the story of two shopkeepers that owned stores directly across the street from each other.
Each spent his days tracking the others’ business and gloating triumphantly each time a customer chose his own store. Over time, they became bitter rivals.
Are you bitter towards someone in your life? One night an angel appeared to one of the shopkeepers and said, ‘I’ll give you anything you request, but whatever you receive, your competitor will receive double.
Could I be rich? You can be very rich indeed, but he’ll be twice as wealthy. Can I desire a long and healthy life? Request it, but his life will be longer and healthier. What’s your desire?’
The man thought for a moment, and with a sly grin, stated, ‘Strike me blind in one eye!’
The dangers of allowing bitterness to harbor in our hearts and mind can be fatal.
Bitterness is relentless and dangerous when allowed to take root in our hearts. It destroys decision-making abilities and compromises otherwise focused and productive lives.
Its only remedy is forgiveness freely by the Lord God Almighty. And if you believe the Bible, we are to give of ourselves generously to others.
This is a very poignant lesson for our lives and the lives of those who are connected to us.
Sometimes women and men who have lost children to illness or accident assign and blame God for their loss: saying “God, how could you take my beloved child from me”?
Don’t You know how much I loved him/her? How could You do this to me?” An abandoned spouse may become as bitter as they wonder:
God, don’t You see how much I am struggling to raise these kids while he/she is out living a seemingly better life? How can you let them get away with this?
I am the one who was faithful, and now I am the one who is miserable while he/she has it made! Don’t you care about me? Why aren’t you punishing him/her? These are all situations that can happen in life.
You become bitter out of a belief that God will not punish the people who hurt you, that God does not hear your plea, or that God does not care about your plight.
Since God is apparently not going to intervene in your circumstances, you stand in as judge, jury, and executioner in your life and the lives of others when the opportunity presents itself.
It becomes a dangerous pattern. The more you dwell on what has been done to you, the injustice you have suffered, or the loss you have incurred, the deeper goes the root of bitterness.
You already know that carrying around a load of bitterness is exhausting (Hebrews 12:1-2). Bitterness hardens your heart on the inside and your features on the outside. It also defiles those around you because it is contagious.
God is the only true anecdote for the bitterness we at times will experience in our lives.
Do you want the cure for bitterness? You must understand that the only cure for bitterness and anger is the Lord. Bitterness is focused on what has been done to you. T
o break up bitterness, you must also be willing to look at what you have done to others as a starting point.
Your task is to admit what your responsibility is right or wrong seeking the Heart of God to make you whole again.
Acceptance of hard things at the hand of a loving God is not easy. I encourage you to seek God in your circumstances and to trust that the Lord is unfolding a divine plan that you cannot see right now in your life.
Just as Joseph gave land and food to the very people who sought to destroy his life, so we can look for ways to express our love and forgiveness in a tangible way, when appropriate.
Buy someone a small gift, take them to coffee, or send them a text to let them know you’re praying for them (Genesis 45: 5-11).
If we’re not careful to fight bitterness, we’ll soon be consumed by the poison that leaves us in the pit of despair.
True liberation and joy are found by embracing the gospel of grace and extending it to the very people we’re least inclined to love.
The cure for bitterness is not found in getting even, but by giving grace—just as God in Christ has done for us.
Point to ponder
Take a step out of bitterness into forgiveness today. Forgive the unforgivable.
You can do it! The reason you are reading this message is that it’s time to free yourself of bitterness and forgive the unforgivable. I don’t know about you family of God, but I just want to be free!
Quote “Whatever it is in your life that has you bitter, let it go and allow God to make you better” James Baker, Jr.
Pastor James Baker, Jr. and our leadership team are especially thankful for those of you who provided financial donations and support in the month of October 2020, by partnering with us in efforts to advance the kingdom of God in this 21st century season: Special thanks to Ms. Cynthia Waiters-Artis, Ms. Annette Straker, Ms. Rita McGuffin, Mr. Kenneth Washington, Ms. Darlene Simmons, Ms. Mable Bazemore, Ms. Evelyn Rosado, Ms. Itholear Abbott, Mrs. Barbara Mason, Ms. Theresa Lewis, Ms. Jeanette Grant, Ms. Judith Battle, Ms. Angela Battle, Ms. Evonne Bazemore, Ms. Rita McGuffin, Mr. William Jones, Mr. Stan Harewood, Ms. Angie Scraders-Murphy, Mr. Calvin Jackson, Mr. Calvin Griffith, Mr. Brandon McIntyre, and Ms. Gertrude Scott.
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