Monday, November 12, 2018

The Bitter Taste of Being Bitter

10 The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy. (Proverbs 14:10)
            I may have written on this topic before but please listen again… Have you ever heard the phrase ‘misery loves company’? Each day we encounter people who are just full of anger and bitterness. It seems like they want to pull you down into their suffering. These bitter people have been wounded. Too often they do not seek help but let that hurt fester inside of them. As a consequence, they lash out and hurt others. And these bitter people do not have to be strangers—they can be a friend, a co-worker, a fellow church member, a family member, or even your spouse.
            So how do we go about dealing with someone who is holding onto that anger or bitterness? God gives us the answer in Ephesians 4:32, “32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” We exhibit a Christlike attitude toward someone when we are kind to them. Jesus blessed those who cursed Him. This tenderheartedness is being moved with the compassion of Christ toward that person. Jesus was hanging on the cross and asked the Father to “Forgive them for they know not what they do…” (Luke 23:34). When we forgive that angry person, it means that we do know hold their sin against them in future dealings. The grace of God we find in Christ empowers us to have this kind of supernatural attitude. It propels us to supernatural actions—namely true forgiveness. The only way we can forgive these angry and bitter people is to exercise the forgiveness that we have been shown in Christ Jesus. 
            When we encounter someone who is bitter and offends us, we have a choice. We can respond the way the world responds—bitterness and anger right back at them. Or we can respond the way that Jesus would want us to respond—with compassion for their suffering and understanding for what they have been through. If we are to make disciples, we must meet people where they are in their lives and go from there. If we expect people to clean up their lives Before they come to our gatherings, we will never make disciples at all because it is only through the power of Jesus Christ that our lives are changed. Go be a blessing and light in the community and meet people where they are. Oh, and bring Jesus with you—they desperately need to meet Him!! Have a great and godly week!!