See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
New International Version (NIV)
22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
24 Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”
I was just sitting here thinking about bitterness and how easy it is for any of us to let it take root in our hearts and pretty soon we are so full of it, literally, that we don’t know how to walk in love as Jesus has called us to do. With the pessimistic, negative people we come in contact with daily, it’s easy to see how we can let bitterness take root and just go with it. It’s not easy to remain bitter-free, but it can be accomplished; it just takes lots of practice to not let the world shape your focus or your perspective. Jesus has worked with me on this one subject for some time now and how I react to what people say and do, can also determine how or when bitterness comes.
By nature, I am not, nor will I ever see myself as a ” morning” person. Yes, I work a daytime job and yes, I have to get in the early morning hours, but I am not someone that wakes up happily, eagerly ready to jump out of bed and start the day. I am the one, that hopes I can reach my alarm clock, so I can press the snooze bar, just one more time, and that 7 minutes doesn’t really do me any justice; I really don’t get any more rest than if I had just gotten up, but it’s something I have always done and do not plan on stopping anytime soon. Then once I am up and getting ready, I don’t want to have to talk to anyone. I want time to wake up, put myself together, maybe have time for a cup of coffee and spend a little time with God (and I need to do more of this in the morning, than I do now) and then after all that, if there was anytime left before I had to head out the door, then and only then am I ready to embrace any type of conversation.
So, it should come as ABSOLUTELY NO SUPRISE to my husband that I don’t want to chit chat about anything, unless it’s a matter of life and death, so to speak. If you want to stay up late and chat, I am all for that. We are complete polar opposites on this matter. You guessed it, he is happy go lucky, eager to start his day; if he’s up, then everyone should be up and ready to go too. It’s funny how after 19 years, that hasn’t changed, and probably never will. So the whole reason I am sharing this tidbit, is that more often than not, when he tries to have conversation with me shortly after the alarm buzzer goes off, I am usually less than friendly…sometimes I think I might even be snarling….I honestly don’t like that part of myself, but I have never tried to change it. Words are said, and you guessed it, if I am not very careful and stop and think about how Jesus wants me to be, that old, ugly word BITTERNESS creeps in. And if I swill it around and think about it all the way to work, while dealing with people just learning how to drive (no not really-just seems that way), it grows. The sad part is it is only a 15 minute drive at best and it doesn’t take long for that Bitterness (B word) to settle in for the day.
I get frustrated and upset and, you guessed it, way too snarly for my own good. I start thinking about how dare he do that and then go do whatever he has planned for the day. Sometimes, I have to pleasantly remind him that mornings are not my thing, anymore than late nights are his. And he looks at me like I made some alien comment, and again I just have to say, please don’t get upset with me. I don’t get upset with you when you want to go to sleep way earlier than me. We are all just different and we are that way because that’s how God created us.
At http://www.thefreedictionary.com/bitterness, The Free Dictionary Online describes bitterness as this:
The Message (MSG)
A Way That Leads to Hell
14 Lady Wisdom builds a lovely home;
Sir Fool comes along and tears it down brick by brick.
2 An honest life shows respect for God;
a degenerate life is a slap in his face.
3 Frivolous talk provokes a derisive smile;
wise speech evokes nothing but respect.
4 No cattle, no crops;
a good harvest requires a strong ox for the plow.
5 A true witness never lies;
a false witness makes a business of it.
6 Cynics look high and low for wisdom—and never find it;
the open-minded find it right on their doorstep!
7 Escape quickly from the company of fools;
they’re a waste of your time, a waste of your words.
8 The wisdom of the wise keeps life on track;
the foolishness of fools lands them in the ditch.
9 The stupid ridicule right and wrong,
but a moral life is a favored life.
10 The person who shuns the bitter moments of friends
will be an outsider at their celebrations.
11 Lives of careless wrongdoing are tumbledown shacks;
holy living builds soaring cathedrals.
12-13 There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough;
look again—it leads straight to hell.
Sure, those people appear to be having a good time,
but all that laughter will end in heartbreak.
Sift and Weigh Every Word
14 A mean person gets paid back in meanness,
a gracious person in grace.
15 The gullible believe anything they’re told;
the prudent sift and weigh every word.
16 The wise watch their steps and avoid evil;
fools are headstrong and reckless.
17 The hotheaded do things they’ll later regret;
the coldhearted get the cold shoulder.
18 Foolish dreamers live in a world of illusion;
wise realists plant their feet on the ground.
19 Eventually, evil will pay tribute to good;
the wicked will respect God-loyal people.
20 An unlucky loser is shunned by all,
but everyone loves a winner.
21 It’s criminal to ignore a neighbor in need,
but compassion for the poor—what a blessing!
22 Isn’t it obvious that conspirators lose out,
while the thoughtful win love and trust?
23 Hard work always pays off;
mere talk puts no bread on the table.
24 The wise accumulate wisdom;
fools get stupider by the day.
25 Souls are saved by truthful witness
and betrayed by the spread of lies.
26 The Fear-of-God builds up confidence,
and makes a world safe for your children.
27 The Fear-of-God is a spring of living water
so you won’t go off drinking from poisoned wells.
28 The mark of a good leader is loyal followers;
leadership is nothing without a following.
29 Slowness to anger makes for deep understanding;
a quick-tempered person stockpiles stupidity.
30 A sound mind makes for a robust body,
but runaway emotions corrode the bones.
31 You insult your Maker when you exploit the powerless;
when you’re kind to the poor, you honor God.
32 The evil of bad people leaves them out in the cold;
the integrity of good people creates a safe place for living.
33 Lady Wisdom is at home in an understanding heart—
fools never even get to say hello.
34 God-devotion makes a country strong;
God-avoidance leaves people weak.
35 Diligent work gets a warm commendation;
shiftless work earns an angry rebuke.
God Loves you, right where you are.