Labels#8. “Bitter.”

Bitterness of spirit is a sad thing to behold.

I have known Christians who lived and died believing that God and man alike had deliberately dealt them one bad hand after another. Nothing was their fault, and you would be adding your name to a very long list of enemies if you told them so. One can hear echoes of Esau’s bitter cry when realising that he was bested by his brother, Jacob (Genesis 27:34).

Conversely, I have met very good people who have had very good reasons to be bitter. When promises were forgotten and duties abandoned, they were left to pick up the pieces; often withdrawing into a state of misery. Many times, they were unaware of how broad an impact their bitterness of spirit had upon themselves and those around them.

An aggrieved soul living with unresolved happenings can become a very lonely person. You and I must pray for the kind of compassion that gives to the heart of their need. In this we do not work alone; for it is in the church that Jesus turns bitterness into blessings.

It is at this point that the Bible separates from much of modern thought. Where contemporary solutions are sought from within a person, the Bible points the person to seek solutions in the company of Christ and his followers:
“Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives. The burden that I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

“Joy” is the normal setting for the Christian. And it is by Christ’s Word, Work, and People that He brings joy to the bitter heart.

John Staiger


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