I know the many faces of bitterness. I know how it sounds, how it acts, how it feels. When he texted a sarcastic remark, it hurt. The initial reaction was disappointment laced with indignation. When all you do is help someone and yet, will not hesitate to be sarcastic and rude to you, you can’t help but be disappointed and indignant. But if you have the gift of discernment, you can see beyond the sarcasm: it is the monster of bitterness that is lurking beneath the surface.
(image from Google)
Bitterness bites and gripes. It is unthankful; it only wants to see and think of itself. It is hard to please; it chooses to be unhappy and stay that way. Bitterness is ugly. It consumes. It destroys.
So, he can be all that because I know he’s bitter. He’s bitter at how he believes life is treating him. Bitterness cannot see God’s goodness and blessings. Bitterness can easily take over someone who doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ. So, after the fleeting feeling of indignation, grace and understanding took over. By the grace and mercy we have received, we ignore the sarcasm, their attempt to bite, and in its place, we follow the way of long-suffering and offer the plate of kind words. I understand. I know. May you be found by Mercy and saved by Grace.
But there are Christians that succumb to bitterness, too. Various kinds of trials can embitter someone. Or make him or her better. Bitterness may drive us at Jesus’ feet, much like the attitude of Hannah (1 Sam. 1), or may consume us, snuff out our lamps and shrivel our faith.
Bitterness is the one thing I have been diligently guarding my heart against. With the difficult trials I’m still very much going through, I’m prone to it. But I have long learned to recognize its many ploys and would do my best to shun its banks and be not engulfed by its current.
Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. (Rom. 12:15 NLT)
But why does bitterness trump a Christian? When he or she is following two roads: one towards God and the other towards the world. When one straddles the two, his or her loyalty divided between God and the world (James 4:8). You see, when we want something of the world and can’t get it, when we believe we are entitled to have and not have it – we may become bitter. When we believe we don’t deserve the hardships we are going through, but instead, subscribe to the belief that, as the world has and does, so must we also (please see James 4). We become thus because we resist and spurn suffering, instead of yielding ourselves to the Potter’s hands and letting Him complete His work in us, that we may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:4).
There is a need, therefore, for the mind to be made new in its thinking, beliefs, and subscriptions. This, this says it all and it will help us greatly if we let its power take over our minds:
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Rom. 12:2)
The antidote to bitterness is humility before God and patience in trials. To look at the mercies of God, His goodness and faithfulness, and not dwell on the things we lack. To be grateful for the blessings apportioned us, for there cannot be absence of them. To follow a single path single-mindedly, leading towards God’s kingdom where our rewards await.
Very related post: When You’re Torn Between Two Desires
I might be linking up with these lovely blogs.
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