Hebrews 12:15 "Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;"
Bitterness not only troubles us but it troubles others around us. Some walk around in the bitterness fog. We can make others bitter by us being bitter.
Many things cause bitterness as have already been stated in my previous posts entitled The Conflict of Bitterness Part I and The Conflict of Bitterness Part II.
Once that root of bitterness is in our heart...everything that goes wrong only feeds it and it grows and eventually it springs up. Bitterness also hinders blessings. When we have bitterness in our hearts we don't recognize when God is blessing and we also hinder ourselves from receiving blessings that God wants to give us.
--> To overcome bitterness we need to stay where God has placed us. Ruth 1:2 "And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there." Naomi left where she was. She left full and she came back empty. Don't leave where God has you unless God tells you to leave. You might leave full and go back empty. Some find things tough and they think they need to leave to make things better. All that happens when they do that is things get worse. To stay out of bitterness we need to stay with God.
--> We need to stay around people who are positive and encouraging. Those who are constantly murmuring...griping and complaining will cause or feed bitterness. Those who are constantly criticizing and cutting down others only encourage bitterness. Our testimony is at stake and so is the testimony of the Lord. Negative people will feed bitterness but positive people will help to kill it. We need to be kind to those that are negative but not allow ourselves to spend too much time with them.
--> We need to keep our disappointments in proper perspective. Ecclesiastes 3:1 "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:" Sometimes our disappointments are God's appointments. Be careful how you look at things. God never said life was going to be fair. We need to count our blessings...name them one by one. Things just won't always go how we plan for them to.
--> We need to learn to accept God's strength when illness comes. II Corinthians 12:9-10 "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." When we are weak...that is when God needs to be and wants to be strong in our life. God allows things for our good and for His glory. We don't have to be bitter. We can choose to be bitter or we can choose not to be bitter.
--> We need to dwell on God's mercies and His faithfulness when the dark times come. Lamentations 3:21-24 "This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him." God is faithful and is there for us. He is there each and every day.
Ephesians 4:31 "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:" The power to do away with bitterness is up to us. Bitter people do not have a good life. God wants to use us but He won't use us if we are bitter.
--> We need to stay in the Word of God. Psalm 119:165 "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them." If we stay in the Word of God then nothing will offend us and make us bitter. It is when someone forsakes the Word of God that they have the opportunity of becoming bitter.
We also need to remember that those that we look at as being the cause of us becoming bitter are not our real enemy. Satan is the enemy. He only uses those things or those people to get us to become bitter. Ephesians 6:12 "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
I've faced some very difficult things here in the past month and a half that some of you know about and others don't. I have struggled with this thing of becoming bitter. Not so much in the situation with my brother's murder as the situation that has come up since then. Some might look at what I've been facing and think I have good reason to become bitter. And some that would face this same thing might have become bitter....but I refuse to let myself do that. When we become bitter it affects our walk with Christ. I do not want anything or anyone to cause that to happen. Nothing is ever God's fault. Many say they know it isn't....but my question to them is then why are they bitter. In reality...when we say we are bitter or become bitter at someone in particular....what we are really doing is becoming bitter at God. Think about that for a little while. There is no good reason to become bitter!!