Monday, September 25, 2017

Bitterness, The Slow Poison To A Christian’s Faith

Reconcile And Meet The Other Halfway

“Pursue peace with all men, as well as holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. Be careful that no one falls short of the grace of God, so that no root of bitterness will spring up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:14-15 NIV).

Before we share today’s message kindly allow us to share an interesting vision my wife had on the 23rd of September 2017, (which was on the birthday of one of the women in her vision) she saw two women boarding a train together. Now in real life, these two women had a bitter feud a few months ago and there still exists some strong feelings of hurt and unforgiveness between them with neither of them willing to submit and ask for forgiveness. They were meant to get off at the same train station but they chose to get off at different stations. As it were one of the women got off first and saw the other women coming towards her from a long distance and she decided to walk towards her in an effort meet her halfway.

Thus and after prayer, the Lord revealed to my wife that people (especially Christians) who were involved in a dispute should be willing to forgive one another and be prepared to meet each other halfway and reconcile to pursue peaceful relations (Luke 15: 20; Hebrews 12:14).

Bitterness, The Cause Of Divisions

Being a Christian or a follower of Christ we are commanded amongst other things to “rid [y]ourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind” (1 Peter 2:1 NIV; Ephesians 4:31). However, and on the contrary for some Christians, these reprimands from the Word of God does not exist for them, they give full vent and without regard for the Lord to their ill-feelings towards others (Proverbs 29:11).

Earlier this year, and as a minister of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, I was invited to a discussion that involved the proposed enactment of laws by our government that could potentially impact on the work and activities of the local Church here in South Africa. As a collective body of leaders, we were supposed to organize ourselves into a unified force but sadly, some pastors are not good listeners and neither are they willing to learn in humility, instead they are the ones who want to be heard (James 1:19). From that gathering, there was no unity or unity of purpose, despite the guidelines that were provided in fact each one had his or her own way of dealing with the situation.

Now from what I observed, I could tell that some people were driven by their own agendas. Consequently, after just one meeting almost all the pastors abandoned the discussion and the main reason being bitterness! Some pastors could not stand each other, there was bitter envy, rivalry, and recognition for attention. What I heard from them, these pastors are well-versed in the scriptures and flawless in speech but they had no love and respect for each other. In my observation, they have learned how to rightly divide the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15), while unity in love was not pursued.

Love For God With A spirit Of Bitterness Equals Hypocrisy

Additionally, we could be consumed with love for the Lord and His Word and being eloquent speakers but harboring bitterness and hateful feelings towards your brother in Christ renders you just a ‘talker’ who is inflamed with evil (1 John 4:20). Let me give it to you, this kind of a state of heart dishonors the Lord and renders our salvation useless (Matthew 6:15). Why are some Christians finding it hard to make room for love in their hearts if they disagreed with others? Why don’t they just forgive? Because they equally have no room for the Word of God in their hearts that is why they don’t have love, instead they hate and walk in unforgiveness and as we rejected the Word of God, He rejected us (1 Samuel 15:26).

Brethren, let me put it this way if we cannot stand the presence and existence of our fellow brother or sister in the Lord, we are in DARKNESS which is driven by a bitter and grudging spirit (1 John 2:9-11).

Being found in such a state of heart drives us away from the Presence of the Lord, we would either have to repent or live away from the Lord with feelings of bitterness. Furthermore, we can recall how the Lord strongly corrected a few brethren who openly showed hostility towards those who offended them and sadly such bitterness has driven some of them away from the Lord. And disturbingly, when they were being corrected they grew bitter roots and not only were they bitter but they teamed up with Mr malice in an expression of the condition of their hearts.

It is true, none of us are immune to the sharp arrows of bitterness which come through the operation of Satan (1 John 3:8; 2 Corinthians 2:11). In other words, if we accept the evil of bitterness we essentially reject the command to love and forgive and the Bible says, we must guard our hearts against the influence of evil thoughts and desires which will eventually affect our behaviour (Proverbs 4:23; Matthew 15:19).

Furthermore, I recently listened attentively how a God-fearing father corrected two of his daughters who were involved in a quarrel that created bitter feelings between them. In his address to them, he gently encouraged them to resist harboring feelings of bitterness, despite the contentment of ‘getting even’ by being malicious. Instead, he warned them to resist the temptation of accepting malicious thoughts and he further explained to them that opening their hearts to evil intent is an invitation to the devil and demonic influences as he firmly rooted his correction on the value of the Scriptures (Ephesians 2:1-2; 5:8-11).

Having said this, we would also like to add that a person who is full of bitterness is in hiding regarding his or her true feelings. Let's face it, the heart of a person in such a condition is far from God because he or she would be acting deceitfully, irrational and in self-justification (Jeremiah 17:9). Being in a state of bitterness unsettles us emotionally and being judge of our own hurts makes us blind. When this happens we chose to give effect to our hurt by repaying back hurtfully while we subconsciously reject scriptural guidance and adopts anger over peace (1 Peter 3:9; Romans 12:17).

Finally, as Christians are we willing to humble ourselves and meet each other halfway in a bid to uphold our Christian values? Or are we content to reject peace and the loving ways of the Lord while avoiding each other and carrying around the hurt and the unforgiveness? Brethren, while we position ourselves daily to yield to the Lord and His Holy Spirit we encourage you to do likewise and repent from any bitterness, unforgiveness, and grudges because in the eyes of the Lord the one carrying this bondage is guilty of being disobedient to Him.

For those who are not saved yet, we encourage you to give your life to our Lord Jesus Christ to receive eternal life when you pass from this life by praying this Prayer of Sincere Repentance. For any questions or comments about this article or our ministry, you may please contact us.

Blessed Grace
Brother Glenn