Monday, September 01, 2008

60 Seconds (12)


A mortician at Forest Lawn Cemetery in California told of a man who, many years ago, spent $ 200,000 on his own funeral. Having become bitter towards his estranged wife and children, he squandered all his money on his own burial and left them nothing. Because the casket and other expenses added up to only $ 100,000, he directed that the remaining $ 100,000 be spent on orchids! Sadly, only three people attended that memorial service. What a warped sense of value and waste of money. What a lesson to be learned from harboring a spirit of bitterness.

The writer to the Hebrews warned that “any root of bitterness springing up” can “cause trouble, and by this many are become defiled” (12:15). The words “root of bitterness” are used metaphorically, speaking of how bitterness produces bitter fruit. Helen Grace, writing of bitterness, stated, “It grows. It distorts reality. It keeps us chained to the past. Like bad air, it pollutes not just the bitter person, but those who come in contact with the person.”

Nothing is more counterproductive to the human spirit than bitterness and resentment. These two enemies of our lives have ruined people throughout history. Some go through life blaming their parents for their failures. Ministers have left their pulpits, and families have been destroyed because of resentment and bitterness being out of control. Pastor Dan Betzer wrote, “My friends in the medical profession tell me that bitterness often causes physical problems such as nervous disorders, heart disease, and ulcers. And mental problems such as paranoia have their seeds in bitterness.”

Bitterness corrodes the spirit. This was true of Judas Iscariot. Over time, he became so revengeful and bitter towards the Lord, that nothing could save him. Not even the sight of Jesus kneeling before him to wash his feet (John 13:5), and not even the final appeal of Jesus at the supper table (John 13:26). Sadly, his bitterness destroyed him (Matthew 27:5). Charles Buxton warned, “Bad temper is its own scourge. Few things are more bitter that to feel bitter. A man’s venom poisons himself more than his victim.”

Bitterness kills. Corrie Ten Boom, survivor of Ravensbruck, helped to establish hospitals in Holland to care for the sick who had come through Nazi concentration camps during World War 11. In her work, Miss Ten Boom observed a strange phenomenon. Those who refused to forgive the Germans for their cruelty declined in health, and a number of them died. However, those who chose to forgive their tormentors steadily improved, and eventually went home. FORGIVENESS HEALS.

Ephesians 4:31, “Let all bitterness…be put away from you.”

Dave Arnold, Pastor, Gulf Coast Worship Center, New Port Richey, Florida

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©


Christopher Cohen said...

Thank you for your encouragement and this reminder of bitterness. It has become an emotion discernment for me as I try to figure out if I am bitter and resenting, or just being watchful and cautious, and I usually end up repenting and praying through the fruits of the spirit, even though I may not even be bitter, I want to squash that root right away.

Only in the renewing of my mind can I forgive, and as we all witnessed, sometimes you don't think it is in you to forgive, and that is when God steps in and supernaturally removes all bitterness for you.

This is a big one for me because in many cases I am still discerning wether I am holding a grudge against someone, or just still trying to discern them.

Unknown said...

Bitterness leaves a stain of remembrance in the back of the mind, creeping up and reclaiming the ugliness of the original state, revisiting the sinfulness of the moment the bitterness took root. Not allowing for the reconciliation of those involved.

However, praise be to God for His written Word and His Spirit within those who are called, "Children of the living God".

Ephesians 4 20 thru 24,
But that is not the way you learned Christ! assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Romans 12:1&2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Unknown said...

JD, I was telling Melissa what you told me about Psalms 98 and she said she wanted to do it along with me.

Yay God!

Christopher Cohen said...

I had a dream last night after leaving my comment and could hear James Caan saying, "I don't like you because hey, I don't know you". I remember hearing somewhere that if you don't like someone it is because you do not know enough about them, or if you say no, you are saying you do not 'know' enough about something.

It is just interesting to me how easily I can confuse those feelings with resentment. Ah, discernment, discernment, discernment.

Even So... said...

Yeah it is a big thing for sure...hey Paul, that is great, but make sure you go through Psalm 119 too...


Unknown said...

oh, ah, yeah, I'm with ya. oops...