Week 3: Friday
- Matthew 6:12–15
- Hebrews 12:12–17
- Luke 15:25–32
Questions to Consider
- What are some reasons people become bitter?
- What are some of the effects of bitterness on people?
- How do you respond when you feel bitterness growing inside you?
- How does Jesus heal us of bitterness?
Plan of Action
- Take a cotton ball and put some vinegar on it. Touch it to your tongue. Consider what the taste of the vinegar tells you about bitterness.
- After tasting of the vinegar, eat some fruit. Consider what the differences are between the vinegar and the fruit. How do the differences relate to bitterness and love?
- Choose love! Release the bitterness you have felt towards a person and ask Jesus for healing.
Smoking, drinking, and unhealthy eating are the causes of many illnesses and diseases. But I am more and more convinced that many of our physical maladies are the result of our spiritual condition. Many people carry around bitterness. They are resentful and angry. As the bitterness takes root, it grows within them. Over the days, weeks, and years the bitterness becomes manifested through physical illness and other ailments.
You might be bitter towards a parent or a former spouse. You might be bitter towards a coworker or a supervisor. You might be bitter towards a fellow church member or pastor. But you cannot hold on to the bitterness. The only person your bitterness is hurting is yourself. Bitterness will make you sick. Hebrews 12:17 says:
“the ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble.” Hebrews 12:15 ESV
You need to know that bitterness is a tool of the devil. Bitterness destroys relationships. Bitterness locks us in isolation. Bitterness prevents us from experiencing God’s healing. We need to strive to release ourselves from the bitterness. Nothing good ever comes from holding on to it. Nothing!
Bitterness is the way of the world. We see bitterness between rival political parties. We see bitterness where there are divisions in the church. We see bitterness between nations. We see bitterness in families. Bitterness seems to be a popular choice we make.
It’s not easy to let go – you can’t do it on your own. You can only do it through the strength that God gives you through Jesus Christ. I was once told that the person who says forgiveness is easy has never forgiven anyone.
It would have been easy for Jesus to have been bitter. He could have been bitter towards Judas for betraying him. He could have been bitter towards the other disciples for deserting him. He could have been bitter towards the religious leaders for accusing him. He could have been bitter towards the Romans for failing to protect him. He could have been bitter towards us for trivializing his sacrifice. He could have been bitter towards all these people, but instead he chose to die for them.
I find it interesting that he was given the bitter wine vinegar upon the cross to drink (Matthew 27:48). He physically tasted of the bitterness, but bitter was the opposite of what he chose to be. He chose love. Through his blood he made provision for the forgiveness of all the ways we ever offended him.
Today you may want to be bitter and angry. But let Christ do a new thing in you. Taste of the sweetness of the Gospel!