When it comes to bitterness, here are two things you need to keep in mind: (1) It is contagious. You are a part of the body of Christ. So what happens to you, and in you, affects those you are connected to both positively and negatively. The Bible says, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1Co 12:26 NIV). A snakebite doesn’t just affect the body part that gets bitten; the venom spreads through the entire system. “Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time” (Heb 12:15 TM). Don’t get upset and leave the church God has placed you in. You need them and they need you. By overcoming bitterness you spread God’s blessing to others. (2) It can be overcome. Here’s how: (a) Acknowledge and admit it. (b) Don’t rehearse it in your mind or recite it to others. (c) Repent and renounce any attitude that’s not Christ-like. (d) Ask God to give you self-control, then submit to His leadership. (e) Don’t infect others and don’t let them infect you. (f) Without waiting for admissions or apologies, verbalize to yourself, God and a trusted friend, your decision to forgive all wrongs against you. “Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph 4:32 TM). This will set you free to enjoy your relationship with God, yourself, and others. (g) Look for practical ways to “be kind…[and] tenderhearted” toward those who hurt you (v. 32 NKJV).
Published on Sunday, January 29, 2012 @ 1:19 PM CDT