Bitterness

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Bitterness: Unpleasant to accept; distasteful. Painful to body or mind; harsh. Feeling or showing intense animosity. -Bitterness noun.

Devotion for Bitterness

  Who hasn’t felt the sting of bitterness! Life is full of people, circumstances and injustices that can result in deep resentment and bitterness. Bitterness is that terrible feeling that lingers long after resentment and anger have passed. We allow bitterness to linger in our minds and sometimes even savor the very taste of it. The mind has a way of justifying bitterness as the bandage it puts over the heart. This way, the heart won’t have to feel the pain that has been inflicted. As some of the scriptures at the end of this devotion note, bitterness can take root in our hearts and the very depths of our soul.

   I once heard a true story about a woman who was  on her deathbed in the hospital. Her husband, of many years, sat holding her hand, lovingly. She called for her pastor to come to the hospital and pray for her healing. When her pastor arrived, it was obvious to him, that her husband was in deep pain and loved his wife dearly, as he sat holding her hand. Her husband greeted the pastor, and as he was leaving the room, the Holy Spirit spoke to the pastor. The pastor then told the woman what the Holy Spirit had revealed to him. He told her that her sickness was a result of bitterness and unforgiveness  she had been holding toward her husband, for many years. He had done something years ago and she had never forgiven him. The bitterness had taken root in the very depths of her being, which had resulted in this sickness. He told her that his prayers would not heal her and that this sickness would result in her death, if she did not forgive him. Immediately her demeanor changed, she knew what he was talking about, as the anger and bitterness began to show on her face. She pursed her lips together and finally said, “I can’t forgive him!”. The pastor’s heart sank. He bowed his head to pray for her and then sat with her a while. Within a short matter of time, the woman breathed her last breath; he bowed his head in sorrow.

   Not only did this woman not receive healing, but her husband must now face life alone, knowing that his wife had never forgiven him. Is there anything that a person can do or say that cannot be forgiven? Is our pride and indignation so great that we cannot humble ourselves to forgive? According to God’s word, to forgive is not lowering ourselves, but rather, rising to the standard Jesus himself set for us. If you are the one in need of and desire forgiveness, you know the pain and anguish that you feel while waiting. There doesn’t seem to be enough penance you can offer for the offence. On the other hand, who among us hasn’t need to be forgiven? I think we have all been on both sides of the fence. Once you have forgiven someone or when you receive forgiveness, you can feel the oppressive burden lifting. I believe that bitterness can only exist if forgiveness is ignored.

   “Oh dear precious Lord, I pray that my heart would be open to the leading of your sweet Holy Spirit as I walk through this world. Help me to keep a heart that is tender and forgiving, a heart that will not allow bitterness to take root. Lord help me to be quick to forgive. Give me the wisdom to recognize any bitterness I may be harboring. Help me to be willing to quickly confess bitterness and cast it from my heart, as I seek to be an imitator of you Lord. Father help me to look at others through your eyes . . . eyes that love and forgive, quickly and unconditionally. Amen!”

Relating Scriptures:

Job 10:1  “I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.”

Job 21:22-25  “Can anyone teach knowledge to God, since he judges even the highest? One man dies in full vigor, completely secure and at ease, his body well nourished, his bones rich with marrow. Another man dies in bitterness of soul, never having enjoyed anything good. Side by side the lie in the dust, and worms cover them both.”

Proverbs 14:10  Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share it joy.

Romans 3:10-18  As it is written: “There is no righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Psalms 14:3)  Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” (Psalms 5:9)  “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” (Psalms 104:3) “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” (Psalms 10:7)            “Their feet are swift to she blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. ” (Isaiah 59:7) “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Psalms 36:1)

James 3:13-16  Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do no boast about it or deny the truth Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven, but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

Acts 8:21-23  Peter answered: “. . . You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”

Romans 3:13-15  Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood;

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.

Ephesians 4:31-32  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Ephesians 5:1-2  Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

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