“Let all bitterness
be put away from you,
along with all malice.
Be kind to one another,
forgiving one another;
as God in Christ forgave you.”
As I read verse 31 I see a clear link, these are not just a bunch of bad things all thrown together in a list. I have seen it enough in my own life to know this, far too often and sadly recently. I will say I am pretty irritable, and most often it is because I have held onto some small hurt instead of talking to the person who caused it. I let myself get bitter toward them. I somehow forgot the grace that God showed me. The problem is that bitterness eats at your insides like acid, it never stays inside. Before I know it I am “venting” about how someone else hurt me.
This is called slander, and it happens when we stop looking at how God views us, and how He views those that hurt us. Think gossip is harmless. There is nothing satan loves more than to keep God's kids separated from each other. And gossip is one of his best tools for doing that. Because not only does it separate God's kids, it causes them to destroy one another. It is satan managing to put the opposing army's uniform on your army's men and women. It's blinding. The word malice is not something I understood until a dear friend was talking to me about it one day, she said malice is when you intend to do harm to another. Bitterness towards a brother or sister in Christ is when you have started viewing them as an enemy. Gossip is when you cause someone else to view them that way. If that's not malicious I don't know what is. Never say something about another that is negative even if it is true, you need to go to them with it. Never listen to someone else say something negative about another, because the moment you do it's like your heart has been ripped in two. Even though you have trusted both the gossiper and the one being gossiped about you suddenly don't know who to trust anymore. And there it is, suddenly you're not all in the same military any more. There are two sides and you have to choose one to be loyal to. Satan has just created a battle within your own camp, and the real enemy's military is standing back watching us tare each other apart and laughing. So what do we do?
Bitterness is like a pimple sometimes you have to pop it and get the gook out for it to heal. Sometimes you have to go to the other person and talk with them and get out all the gook before the relationship can be healed. In christian circles we like to call this Matthew 18 ing someone. Or abiding by Matthew 18. What does Matthew 18 say. Verses 15 says this
“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”
Very simple you go to them and talk it out.
However some pimples just heal and go away on their own.
In some cases of bitterness, you could be hurt without reason. In other words you need to let it go. Someone once taught me the acronym q-tip. Quit taking it personally. There have definitely been times where I have been given constructive criticism, but I took it only as criticism. People may say things that seem like they are meant as a personal attack, but sometimes are only meant as instruction or a form of endearment and love. You know when I most often have been hurt by someone who never meant to hurt me? When I was taking myself to seriously. And that has even been the case recently. I cannot help but feel convicted and grieved over my inner self a lot. I see so much that is messed up and hope others don't. Then I realize we're all messed up and I need to give them the same grace I desire, heck, that I need. Just because I hide does not mean others don't see it. Like I said bitterness is like acid, it never stay inside, gossip is only one of it's ugly heads. If you don't gossip you become irritable. Every time I'm irritable it's because I'm either stressed about something that I am insecure about, or upset by something someone did to me. But enough about me. Surely if by taking myself too seriously and staring at my own hurt is how I become bitter the best way to keep from being bitter is to look at Christ and His love. I got the privilage of seeing a man use his gifting from God today, working with 50 pounds of clay. If God is the potter he doesn't see a blob of mud He sees what it will be when He is finished with it.
Too often when I look at my brothers and sisters I see the mud, and when I look at them apart from God I will think they are a piece of crud that will never change, what is the point of investing my time and feelings in them only to be hurt? However if I allow myself to see them in the hands of the potter there is nothing more that I want to do than be involved. Apart from the potter the clay can do nothing, it will only sit there and remain the same or worse become hard and dry. However in the hand of the potter, it will be made into a beautiful vessel that God can use to accomplish his purposes.
“Be kind to one another,
forgiving one another;
as God in Christ forgave you.”
Eyes that have looked into the heart of God cannot have a bitter heart.
If I had stood at Calvary I imagine what I might have seen had Christ laid His eyes on me.
I was the one who put him there,
my selfish heart of sin had followed the pleasures of this world,
not caring for the consequence.
But the heart of Christ knew the payment I would not be able to pay.
So while He was hated and scorned for my sin,
his eyes fell with love on me.
As the weight of all I'd done sank in from the punishment I see,
my heart melts and whispers God I give my life to thee.
Looking into the eyes of ultimate love should melt our hearts to pour out love on those who have even put us to death with their own selfish actions. Otherwise we probably never believed we were really the sinner that we are.
Replace bitterness with love.