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!)