Christianity 201

July 2, 2013

Bitter Roots

Bitterness and Unforgiveness

Bitterness can prevent people from making progress in ministry and in life in general. This article appeared at the blog of Kevin Rogers who blogs at Orphan Age: Loners Learning About Community, and is pastor at New Song Church in Windsor, Ontario. This appeared there just a few days ago under the title Taking Out Your Bitter Trash

Bitterness causes problems.  No matter how intelligent or crafty a person is, there is no escaping the consequences that follow a life of bitterness. It will not surprise you to learn of great thinkers, artists and power brokers who succumbed to the deadliest disease of the spirit – bitterness.
Their end is misery and spiritual pollution.
Sigmund Freud died at the age of 83, a bitter and disillusioned man. Tragically, this Viennese physician, one of the most influential thinkers of our time, had little compassion for the common person. Freud wrote in 1918, “I have found little that is good about human beings on the whole. In my experience most of them are trash, no matter whether they publicly subscribe to this or that ethical doctrine or to none at all” (Veritas Reconsidered, p. 36). Freud died friendless. It is well known that he had broken with each of his followers. The end was bitter. 
 
Discoveries, Summer, 1991, Vol 2, No. 3, p. 1 quoted in Unfinished Business,
Charles Sell, Multnomah, 1989, p. 121ff.
Sigmund Freud was wrong.  Most people are not trash, but they do need to take out their trash.  Something that this father of psychiatry was unable to do for himself.
What trash is stinking up the house of your heart?  How can God help us to deal with situations and people that embitter us?
Hebrews 12
15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
·        It is possible to miss out on God’s grace.  Holding unforgiveness puts your spirit into jeopardy.
·        Bitterness roots itself in us and continues to grow.
·        Its end is trouble and causes a stench that sticks to others.
Some will say, “I have a right to be angry and I’m not ready to forgive.  No one else seems to understand what I’m going through, so back off!  Don’t tell me to let go of this hurt!”
Of the 7 deadly sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back–in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you. 
 
Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking Transformed by Thorns, p. 117.
Read more of Kevin at the blog Orphan Age. Here’s another recent post on the passage in Matthew 15, “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth…”  with the provocative title, The Healthy, Politically Correct Pervert.  (Really!)

August 26, 2010

Consider Your Ways

Anyone who can’t find Christian devotional content on the internet just isn’t looking hard enough.  Today we introduce Fresh Manna by Tim Burt, an associate pastor in Minnesota who has been writing devotions online since 2007.   You can also read today’s devotional here.


“Now therefore thus says the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.” (Haggai 1:5)

I woke up this morning thinking about people that enter into sudden crisis and how it affects their spiritual walk. The man that suddenly has his wife utter those words that grip his heart, “I’m leaving you – I just can’t do this anymore.” The person who has just had his boss tell him or her “I am so sorry but the company has to lay off fifty people and I have to let you go.” The person that is sitting with their doctor to find out what those unusual symptoms have been about and he says, “I am sorry to tell you this but you have cancer.” The person who gets the phone call about their loved one just having a serious accident. All these horrible crisis occurrences can grip the heart and attempt to send one’s mind into a tailspin. And they are seldom over in a moment. Difficult times and seasons like this often lead to pain, confusion, condemnation, blame, and eventually backsliding from God. I believe that today, God is trying to warn some of those reading about needed changes that will help them avoid crisis and to others – a call to come back to Him from their wandering away.

When sincere Christians experience these kinds of painful, heart-gripping events, most at some point begin to process through a spiritual inventory. “What did I do to bring this on?” Even though they may have done absolutely nothing, the devil uses these occasions to take advantage of pointing out our sinful weaknesses and beats us over our head with condemnation. That is his wicked nature that will never change. He is an accuser and is called the accuser of the brethren. Rev. 12:10 “…the accuser of God’s children, who accuses them before our God day and night…” Some think the accusations they hear are from God and that He is mad at them. They don’t have the discernment to know it’s the voice of Satan. Consequently, some run from God at these times of crisis. Others get mad at God. They think God has let them down.

When people are guilty of sin and won’t own up to it and it has led to pain or crisis, they often blame God, but since they can’t see Him, they blame those that represent God. They blame their Pastor, or religion, or someone who preaches the gospel on television that they can take cheap shots at, or maybe even their Christian friends. Suddenly every Christian looks like a hypocrite because of their imperfection and Satan amplifies that. Blaming someone else feels better than looking inside through self-examination and repenting for sin.

If disobedience has led to or contributed to the crisis they are facing, the Lord’s goal is always an assurance of His love and willingness to forgive where there is repentance of sin. His goal is always reconciliation – the restoring of relationship and right behavior with Him and help and deliverance from the crisis. Examine Jesus’ walk and you will see this is true. Its’ always about Him bringing correction and instruction on how to get it right. It’s all about leading people into change – supernatural change. It’s never about beating someone up and leaving them in the dust. The devil will do that. People do that to each other, but that is not God’s character.

Crisis often drives healthy self examination. It is always the right time to examine your life. It is also always the right time to purge ungodly thoughts, attitudes, unforgiveness, immoral behavior, and anything that we would mark unpleasing to God. Crisis might drive us to our knees. But it would be better to hit our knees before crisis came. It would be better to delight ourselves in the fear of God and move as far away from ungodly attitudes and behavior out of our love for God as possible. If we did, we’d have greater confidence that God would protect us and help and deliver us when crisis rears its ugly head instead of being buried in the devil’s condemnation.

He will supernaturally strengthen us to make needed changes and that often helps us avoid the crisis’s that could derail us. That is why He calls out to us and says: “Now therefore thus says the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.” (Haggai 1:5)

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt