Tag Archives: bitterness

A lesson about bitterness

Like the salty spray can wear away rock, so can bitterness erode love in the heart of a child of God.

Jonah was a prophet of the Most High. 2 Kings 14:25

The Lord gave him a specific prophecy.

Jonah 1:1-2 NKJV — Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.”

Unfortunately, Jonah choose disobedience.

Jonah 1:3 NKJV — But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

The Lord was merciful and sent a storm, then a fish. Jonah 1:4-17, 2

For the Lord corrects His children.

My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction; For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.
Proverbs 3:11‭-‬12 NKJV

Then He speaks to Jonah again.

Jonah 3:1-2NKJV — Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.”

This time Jonah obeys and his message is a difficult one.

Jonah 3:4 NKJV — And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”

These pagan people turn and repent, including their king.

Jonah 3:7-9 NKJV — And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, “Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?”

God was merciful.

Jonah 3:10 NKJV — Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.

Jonah not only experienced God’s mercy himself, he saw God extend mercy to an entire city which had previously been enemies of His people.

With such incredible works of God, one would expect His servant to rejoice.

But that’s not what happened.

Jonah 4:1-3 NKJV — But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. So he prayed to the LORD, and said, “Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!”

Jonah couldn’t rejoice in the saving of the city, because he didn’t want it saved.

In Jonah, we see what happens to a child of God who allows bitterness to take root.

Bitterness, towards these enemies of his nation, had robbed him of his ability to love and trust God knew what was best.

In his heart he knew God’s character, but he wanted judgment not mercy.

The human heart is often at odds with the Word of God, for at the same time we want mercy and grace for ourselves and our loved ones, but we want judgment and punishment for those who have hurt us.

But that is not what God calls His people to.

James 3:9-10 NKJV — With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.

Matthew 5:44-45 NKJV — “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Jonah is a warning for us, to not allow bitterness to override our love and devotion to God.

Rather, we need to be quick to forgive those who have wronged us, placing our trust in God, who sees all, even the depth of each heart.

For we can not truly love God if we are holding on to bitterness.

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
Romans 12:19‭-‬21 NLT

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the story of Jonah. Lord, I am amazed at Your mercy and grace throughout. You use Jonah’s disobedience, You save an entire city of wicked people, You even teach Your stubborn hard hearted servant a lesson. Thank You! Lord, please help us to learn from these things. Help us to be quick to forgive, honest with ourselves and You when we are hurting. Lord, please teach us how to love our enemies. Please shine Your truth into this dark world and let those who have yet to know You come to a knowledge of You, Lord. Please work through Your children to bring the message of hope to this world. Thank You. Amen.

Let all…

Ephesians 4:31 NKJV — Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.

“Let all …”

And His Word is clear, there’s no room for any.

None, nothing, not even a little bit, because He knows what is best and bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking are not.

Because bitterness is simply choosing not to forgive, holding someone accountable for wrong.

Wrath and anger are close cousins.

The Greek word wrath here means fierceness, indignation, wrath, while this Greek word for anger means anger, indignation, vengeance, wrath.

James 1:20 NKJV — for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Ecclesiastes 7:9 NKJV — Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools.

Clamor and evil speaking seem to be occurring at a startlingly rate, anyone can observe it’s not godly.

Proverbs 29:22 NKJV — An angry man stirs up strife, And a furious man abounds in transgression.

Proverbs 10:18 KJV — He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.

Instead of these things we are to put on different behaviors, ones that spring forth from a heart forgiven by and surrendered to Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 4:32 NKJV — And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Kindness and tenderhearted, priceless gifts to be given and to receive.

Luke 6:35 KJV — But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

Matthew 6:14 KJV — For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

Following Jesus means forgiveness.

Acts 4:12 NKJV — “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

For none gave more to forgive than He.

Hebrews 10:10 NKJV — By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Learning to walk in forgiveness is always an opportunity to trust God in everything and to grow, to stretch, to see life and others from His perspective.

Ephesians 5:1-2 NKJV — Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for these verses. Lord, I want to live a life of sacrifice unto You. I want my life to be pleasing before You, please help me to learn how, each day. Please help me to walk with You in all things. Lord, help me to understand Your truth and to hide it in my heart. Lord, show me my errors that I might repent and turn away from the things which would ensnare me. Lord, thank You for guiding me and loving me. Thank You for Your faithfulness, Your mercy, and Your grace. Amen.

2am

Some things don’t work.

Like Spud here trying to fit in the cat bed.

I’ve seen him try so many times to get himself to fit.

But it never happens.

And the crazy thing is his own bed is always nearby.

He can rest comfortably on it, but no.

He keeps working at something that will never happen.

This morning at 2am I was praying.

Not because I wanted to be awake, but because I was wrestling the bed.

As I prayed God spoke.

Bitterness.

Uhg.

“Lord, no! I’ve forgiven–”

The Lord only had to mention one word.

I knew instantly.

“Yes, I am still bitter. I’m still hurting and I can’t see around it.”

So, I struggled with forgiving again.

I was frustrated.

“Lord, I’ve done this so many times! I thought it was gone. I thought I’d given it to You. Why has it returned to rob me of my rest and peace?”

You are still hurting.

-ouch!-

It was like God tore off a bandage which was simply holding the infection in.

But as I was free to look at myself,

to take stock of the hurt,

I realized where the hurt was coming from.

To see inside oneself through the gifts of God’s discernment is truly humbling and

healing.

This isn’t going to be an instant fix.

Bitterness is an invasive disease which sends out runners to every possible point inside a heart.

It links memories and relationships into a web of pain stifling the infected so gradually that it can go unnoticed for a very long time.

And for me to root out those long tendrils of hurting unforgiviness I had to go to the root.

fear

I don’t want to hurt any more.

I can’t change my physical pain, but I’ve been unconsciously trying to protect myself from emotional pain.

The only way to protect myself is something that simply won’t happen.

I’d need to order all the circumstances in my life.

I’d been trying to control things.

I’m not God.

I’m not supposed to try and keep myself safe.

I’m supposed to rest in His Sovereignty.

To leave behind the nonsense which will never work and trust Jesus.

Hurt will come. But I shall heal you.

-sigh-

“Jesus, take every tendril, every shred, every piece of bitterfearhurt and remove it. Thank You for bringing it to my attention. I don’t want to continue to try to control my life, my circumstances, or my family in any way. I want to rest in Your will. I want to trust Your path. I want to be free from the past. Help me…”

Washed by the Word

image

“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Eph. 4:31-32

These words can be simple.

Of course we should forgive.

No one wants to be an angry, evil spouting, unforgiving,  unloving,  spiteful person.

No one wants to be the person whom others dread.

The person which is so unpredictably poor tempered everyone walks on eggshells around them.

Yet,
unfortunately,
I know some people who fit this description.

What’s even worse,
I’ve had times in my life,
I’ve been this person.

Complaining, grumbling, and ill tempered.

The key to avoiding or reversing this pattern is spelled out.

Put it away.
Stop.
Forgive.
Love.
Control your tongue.
Control your emotions.
Seek peace.
Walk in thankfulness.
Daily remember: Christ forgave you. 
Your account is paid in full.
Your sins are washed away.

I like to think of it as the beach when the tide is out.

The water recedes and reveals all manner of hidden things.

Not unlike the Word of God to help me view my heart and the things normally  not visible.

Then the Lord shows me all He wants to do. Whether it means cleaning off the rubbish left behind by hurt or struggle, or it means gathering together the little treasures of blessings often unnoticed under the daily grind.

So, as I meditate on this verse I pray.

“Lord Jesus, please show me anyone I’m with holding forgiveness from. Please flood my heart with love for the people in my life.

Father, show me how to put off words which hurt and instead be tenderhearted and kind. Help me to see from the other perspective.

Lord, help me never start a day without thanking You for the forgiveness and love you pour out on me daily.

Please continue to speak to my heart through Your scriptures so I can see myself clearly. ”

I’m so thankful for God’s Word which washes me daily!