Wednesday, June 14, 2006

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Bitterness is a poison we drink hoping that some one else will die.

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Hebrews 12:15 says, "See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many."

I can't remember where I heard it, but some one once said, "Bitterness is a poison we drink hoping that some one else will die." How true a statement. Bitterness doesn't help us with our hurt, it only poisons us in our pain. And as Hebrews says, bitterness can spread and defile others around us.

Recently I witnessed bitterness at level that I haven't seen in the past. The context will remain private, but the general situation I can share.

Two people with an estranged relationship due to the actions of one of them had cause to meet in an official legal setting. One person, clearly broken because of the actions of the other, was as bitter a person as I have seen.

I understand the person's pain. They were the innocent party, so to speak. But the level of bitterness in them was malignant. It had spread to others who came to the meeting with them. Frankly I don't think bitterness is a strong enough word to describe what their emotions exuded.

Cold, hard hatred was more like it. The bitter root had surely grown up and brought with it defilement.

They had reason for their pain. As I said, they were the innocent party. But the palpable hatred they exuded toward the one who had caused the injury and to everyone else who didn't see things their way, was cancerous...not to others, but to themselves.

My heart ached for them. It ached for any number of obvious reasons, but also because the events that caused them pain were in the main, not new.

Months and months had passed, actually more than months, but I don't want to overstate the time issue since lessor offenses in more recent days have torn the scabs off the past.

But the level of pain and bitterness expressed in the meeting would have been understandable if the painful events had occurred recently. They had not.

Christians to the core and claiming the moral high ground, they have fallen prey to a poisonous bitterness; a kind of bitterness that if not resolved will leave them crippled emotionally for the rest of their lives. My heart ached for them.

Bitterness is a poison we drink hoping that some one else will die. What a mistake.

Years ago I spoke with my Mother about some of the things my father did during their estrangement and eventual divorce. Years and years after that estrangement Dad gave his heart to the Lord and repented...just months before his death as it turned out.

But there was a season that Dad was not a very nice man. In talking to Mom about some of those days and the things that happened, she said, "You know Gordon, I don't remember them."

I was stunned because of what some of those things were. I couldn't imagine anyone not remembering them.

I asked her how that could be. What she said may be helpful to any of you wrestling with bitterness. She said:

"I went to my pastor, Dan Bean and he prayed for me. What he prayed for was that my memories be healed. And they were. There are many things that I just don't remember."

Mom was not in denial. She wasn't that kind of person. She honestly didn't remember some of the most hurtful things that had happened. God had healed her memories.

Of course she wouldn't have had to go to her pastor to have that prayer prayed for her. I merely shared that part with you because that is how it happened for her. The key point the prayer to the Lord for her memories to be healed.

You don't need a pastor to pray....and I say that having been a pastor since 1982. You can pray that prayer or any other prayer, just fine by yourself.

If you are experiencing bitterness in your life, let me encourage you to pray that your memories be healed. Pray that God will release you from the pain of the past, so that it doesn't poison your present.

Let no root of bitterness grow up and defile many. Be honest with yourself. If you are bitter, admit it...then deal with it. God will help you if you turn to him.


At 7:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have recently found the power of prayer and my love of God and his son.

I have several physical aliments which are becoming worse each week.
I am in a "safe house" after being in a terrible domestic violence assault.
For days I was locked in my basement and forced to sleep in a dog's kennel. After I was able to free myself from my rapist...the district attorney had me move from my home. I was forced to leave my family and friends and my church. I moved out of state quickly w/o even getting a chance to pack my home or bring my animals, books, Bible or music. I had no opportunity to say good-bye to friends or family.

I have had more than a dozen orthopedic operations, Fibromyalsia, Raynard's syndrome, Rheumatoid arthritis, Restless Leg Syndrome, a neurological disorder called RSD, post-tramatic stress disorder, severe anxiety and depression. All give me constant, severe physical and emotional pain.

I am so afraid. I feel so empty inside; so alone. But a few weeks after moving I found a church just a mile down the road. I was Baptized for a second time at the age of 40 in this house of God.

I am fighting Social Security Disability for benefits and my family is upset that I have left the Roman Catholic Church. Faith to me is within our own hearts is not defined by a particular type of church.

Sometimes I can't leave my bed for days at a time. I have few new friends around here. I am horrible about asking for help and so afraid to trust again. I lost my job, my savings, my credit is crushed, my home in foreclosure, my independence gone and my full custody of my 9-year old daughter is now just weekend visits.

But I have gained such a more intense, closer relationship to my Lord.

A time has come in my life that I see that God is not testing me but teaching me...I know he loves me so dearly that he wants me to let go of my own will and let him take over.
Believe me I struggle each day with an urge to take control of "the steering wheel" of my ship that sails my course in life.

In my new found faith I have stopped judging and pointing fingers and in the process is a new sense of peace and contentment which is born from forgiveness.
I have learned to hear what makes me sing inside and learned to love again. I have grown into a blind faith of Christian based instincts and to wear my life like a comfortable pair of old blue jeans.

God, I truly feel will have me win my government disability case and allow me to see the proper doctors to heal my constant pain. We all deserve to be treated with love, kindness and respect and settle for nothing less. God wouldn't want any thing less for the children he loves and holds tight to his heart.

I have finally begun to "exhale"!
I glance down at my feet and realize I am exactly where I am supposed to be...where else would God possibly have me standing?
As long as I place my willingness and faith in a process of holiness....not a journey of negativity I will be just fine!

Could you please pray for me and my daughter! And I will keep you and yours in mine!

God bless,


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