Saturday, November 23, 2013
How Do We Avoid the Root of Bitterness?
Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
The root of bitterness can be a difficult matter. It's easy to become bitter and disappointed with life here on earth. One thing in a society that measures everything by your "accomplishments" and who you know and what you can "show" in the numbers or "fans" you have. it can even more difficult. Life for many is hard. Everyone talks about the big stuff, "What if the NWO comes after Christians?" "What if they pass a law saying that you are required to take a RFID chip or tattoo to buy or sell anything?".
Those matters are important too but one thing we have to watch out for is the drip, drip, drip of everyday life, to chip away at one's faith and take away from the work one would do for God. Sometimes it's not the actual water rising to immediately drown you, it's the Chinese water torture from the slow, "smaller" things. These are the things you have to watch out for in some ways just as much.
Lose a few friends to death in a short time, have a pervasive scary or rare health problem that never lets up and as you age realizes is only going to get worse, realize as you reach your middle aged years, or that many of your earthly dreams simply are not going to come true, bitterness can sneak in like a robber in the night Maybe you're never going to have a child [1 Sam 1:10] or your children have rejected God or you never had a good job or been prosperous [in this earth]. Maybe your life has become not a "best life" tale but one they could make a TV movie about, it went so badly. Perhaps you have seen so much disappointment over and over, that you expect nothing else, bitterness can creep up on a person and they don't even know it! Be careful to guard your mind, because sadness, and other emotions can intertwine into a mess. This is where biblical warnings to keep the mind captive to God and not to your "feelings" is imperative. Those of us outside the churches without a church home, especially have to be careful as we may lack for Christian fellowship to help bolster us up or give us reminders as to what is important.
Sometimes just even the sadness of this world and too many disappointments can creak open the door for vine of bitterness to crawl through. Hurt and resentment can result. Sometimes a wicked person and/or reprobate has sewn seeds of destruction in your life with the worse possible seed being the seed of bitterness. That's one you have to throw away and pray to God to get rid of even if you feel it is impossible, nothing is impossible for God. Such types are wicked enough sometimes then to turn around and point to your sadness and hurt and use it to tell others you are a "bad person". Remember the eyes you count in our God's eyes, not theirs. Be careful of allowing their view of you to poison your mind. The wicked operate under the cloak of the father of lies, and that means LYING. Don't believe any of their lies even about yourself.
Failure [in this world], rejection, losing position, finding no niche or place of belonging can bring bitterness. Some may ask What if a person is homeless? What if you live on the edge? What if society sees you as an OUTCAST? Even then, those invested in God have avoided sinking into the hellish pit of bitterness like Lazarus the beggar! Think about him, he had plenty to be "bitter" about with his broken body full of sores and poverty.
One can let envy lead one down the path to bitterness seeing what others have to enjoy. In fact the Bible warns about this. Notice how the Bible says "bitter envying" in this verse. There are far more things then just money and focus on looks that can be a source of envy too. The two go together in a mutual association:
King James Version (KJV)
14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
You may think in a sinful moment "How did those people get such great lives, why I got a such a rotten and disppointing one?" Hey I may as well be blunt about the thoughts that go through people's heads. Remember many of the lost are getting their rewards now, only to suffer in hell one day since they reject the gospel. Maybe your life that appears "rotten" and "defunct" by the world's standards has brought glory to God, because even if you are now jobless and with an eviction notice on the door, and wondering how you are going to buy dinner, if you are a Christian and witnessed the gospel to someone you have brought more glory to God, then many, many people. These are things we have to remind ourselves of. What does God say about the lowly in this world?
Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.
Bitterness brings with it a feeling of rottenness inside, that leads to many bad outcomes, it is like a tree root that winds and grows through you sapping the very life out of you bringing you feelings of despair, making you feel sick, and like the world's worse person. Don't let it grow too long!
It is like kudzu, the uncontrollable vine, that winds through everything and starts choking you.
Sin can cause bitterness, especially for the lost who engage in the pleasures of this world [Sodom and Gomorrah] thinking it will bring them happiness: 32 For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter:
Christians are to avoid bitterness, notice that bitterness is FIRST on the LIST here, even before anger.
Ephesians 4:31 King James Version (KJV) 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
Bitterness can creep up even on the Christian if they are not careful. One thing that worries me about all the Best Life Now "Christianity" is it actually sets people up for more bitterness and not the embracing of faith. The world sets up impossible standards, labels people for not attaining them and sets up more pain, hurts and resentments.
There is righteous anger, but then there is anger that can lead you to a sinful place. Dealing with wicked people can take a major toll, and while your anger is righteous about their deeds, there too we have to avoid bitterness cropping up in response to their wickedness or influence on your life. Here you should practice forgiveness and also biblically depart from the non-repentant wicked who hurt you over and over.
I'm not telling you that mourning or feeling sad is wrong, especially as we see where this world is going but this is something to be careful of, that root of bitterness winding through. I'm not one to tell you to be a good Christian you have to wear a love bombing smile on your face every minute, the false pastors love to preach that one, but bitterness is a danger, it really is.
One has to give these issues to God. Only God can fix all things. Human beings want to fix things and when we face problems that are not fixable, it can be an affront and challenge to our spirits but here we have to admit our dependence on God. We need to let go of these wrong battles not to sink into the pit of anger and malice our enemies have dug for us.
If you feel bitterness because of how your life has turned out in this world, remember what Jesus went through, being betrayed by his friends, and abandoned them, facing the cross and the sufferings that came. Realize the cruelty shown to the apostles and other Christians in this world by the wicked many of whom had lost their lives for the gospel. Where they bitter? No. How did they avoid it? They put their rest and hope in Jesus Christ and eternity with Him.
With bitterness, be honest in prayer to God. Tell Him, you feel bitter, and can feel it's snaking tendrils across your heart and that you are waking up with tears and feeling a giant weight on your back. God knows anyhow, and not admitting it to God is not going to help you. Repent and ask God to replace the bitterness in your heart with His Love and direction. Here too, address yourself mind-wise, bring all thoughts captive to Christ. Practice biblical forgiveness and proper attitudes towards the wicked, departing from the reprobates and praying for the enemies. Here too ask God, in prayer, "How do I pray Lord, to conquer this bitterness with your help?"
2 Corinthians 10:5
King James Version (KJV)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Hand things over to God.