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Godless 101: Bitterness

This is a series that will hopefully encourage those who have felt the emotions or share the viewpoints that I discuss.  Hang on for a ride that just might take you to a place you did not expect.  Yes, I’m opinionated and yes I’m spiritual, deal with it. :)

The other day I was driving to the YMCA and noticed an older gentleman driving his work truck.  I didn’t know the man and I can’t be sure, but he sure looked bitter.  Maybe he was having a tough time paying bills.  Maybe he had lost his wife to cancer.  Maybe he was having gas.  I don’t know, but he did look unhappy, and the wrinkles on his face seemed to indicate this was a semi-permanent state.  Have you felt bitter about something?  I’m not talking about food, but about life.

Our lives can take many turns, and for many, many people, life is hard.  Have you ever heard of a “hard heart”?  This term is used in the Bible often to describe someone who is so bitter that nothing will change their mind.  I won’t beat about the bush.  We have an enemy that prowls around like a lion, ready to attack and his name is Satan.  Bitterness is simply one tool that is used to keep us far away from God.  You may disagree with me, and that’s fine, BUT please read on anyway.  A hard life can lead to a hard heart.

Why are people bitter?  Think about it.

1) Could it be because things did not go their way in life?

2) Did they not get what they wanted?

3) Do they feel God turned his back on them?

4) Do they hate God and blame God for their hardship or loss?

It could be any or all of these things.  The problem is that these excuses are all completely invalid, reckless and ignorant responses unless you live in a Godless state of mind.

Let’s take a deeper look at what I mean.

First, if “things did not go their way in life” or “they hate God” or “they feel abandoned or upset that they didn’t get what they wanted”, what is this saying?  A couple things, one being that this person is selfish on some levels.  We all are, so this fact is no brain bender.  The other is that this person is not relying on God.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

God has repeatedly said throughout the Bible that “never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Heb 13:5, Deut 31, Josh 1:5 NIV)

Now don’t start saying or thinking that God is harming the person or leaving the person.  After all, “We reap what we sow” (Galatians 6:7 NIV)

So what does all this mean?  Consider the Gospel message.  You do know the Gospel message, right?  [Let’s take a brief detour] Obviously you do not know the Gospel if you are bitter.  The Gospel message is God’s ultimate gift of mercy and grace.  There is no abandonment in this message.   Consider the Ten Commandments.  You have undoubtedly broken and disobeyed them all (I have).  If you do not recognize that you are headed for hell without some type of Savior, let me explain further.  Recall that Jesus explained that hatred equates to murder and lust equates to adultery.  God will judge us by the standard set by the Ten Commandments.  We are guilty in his courtroom, and unless God is a bad, corrupt judge, he will convict us of the crimes we’ve committed!  That’s where Jesus comes in, he paid the fine, and he stepped in and saved us from God’s jail (hell).  That’s a good plan, really.

I’m a big Ray Comfort fan, and much of my verbiage comes directly from the great preaching of this godly man.  How do you get Jesus to come into that courtroom and pay your fine?  How?  Just believe in him?  No!  Even the demons believe in Jesus and they are not saved.  Say a little prayer?  That’s a start!

You have to give your life to Jesus, you must TRUST him…trust that he WILL come into that courtroom and that he DID die for us and pay our fine.  We must admit that we have lied or lusted or stolen or used God’s name as a cuss word.  We must REPENT of these crimes.  Repent means “to turn from”, to do a 180.  Flee from sin!  God promised as soon as we REPENT and TRUST we will have new desires.  We still won’t be perfect, but God will see us as perfect.  Good plan, no abandonment, right?

[Okay back on track] You see, bitterness is simply a product of not trusting in God.  God gave us a way to be saved from hell for eternity.  Bitterness is simply losing our focus on what’s truly important.  Bitterness is self centered and ignorant of the truth.  Bitterness is reckless because we do not know when we will die.  Bitterness will grip you like a seat belt and it will drive you right off the cliff into hell.  Then, you will have something to be bitter about…your own ignorant choices.  Do not be deceived.  Do not think for a second that God doesn’t have something good planned.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.(Romans 8:28 NIV)

Have you been called?

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3 Responses

  1. Wow, amazing words! In the end, it is God’s will and purpose for us, and we need to accept that. There’s no reason to be bitter if we can trust and know that He is God. Our family member, Matt, wrote similar words from prison. We have posted it on his webpage. Check it out @ http://tinyurl.com/prisoncloseddoors . Thank you for sharing your blog.

  2. “Bitterness is reckless because we do not know when we will die. Bitterness will grip you like a seat belt and it will drive you right off the cliff into hell. Then, you will have something to be bitter about…your own ignorant choices. Do not be deceived. ”

    In my extensive study on Anger (in the past year and a half dealing with and working on my own anger) I listened to a sermon on bitterness. Here is an excerpt of what the pastor said: “Ephesians 4:25-27 There are going to be things that come into your life that will cause you to be angry–if you let them. Don’t let them. If you do get angry; don’t you dare stay angry after the sun has gone down. Anger itself is a sin but if you are angry after the sun goes down then you have time to “sleep on it” and wrath turns into bitterness which gives ground to the devil.”

    He said this among many other good points but this really struck me because of my personal struggles with anger and bitterness.

    • Excellent point, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger” was my grandmothers advice to me and my wife when we were married.

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