From Bitter to Better

Today’s Truth
“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many”  (Hebrews 12:15 NIV).

Friend To Friend
She’s just a bitter old woman!”  Have you ever heard someone described in that way?  I have.  And amazingly, when someone uses the word “bitter,” I know exactly what they mean.  Webster defines bitter as “galling; exhibiting intense animosity, harshly reproachful, marked by cynicism and rancor.”  It stems from deep seated anger and a lack of forgiveness that plants itself into a soul and is watered and fertilized by playing and replaying the video of the offense in the theater of the mind.  Paul warns us that having a “root of bitterness” can grow up and “defile many” (Hebrews 12:15).   James tell us that bitterness is from the devil (James 3:14-15).  And Peter cautions that bitterness can keep us from being effective in ministry (Acts 8:22-24).

 

Just like Naomi in the story of Ruth, bitterness in our hearts will produce bitterness in our actions.  The only way to be free of bitterness is to let go of past offenses and refuse to collect them.  Collect antiques, beanie babies, or even shoes.  But don’t collect grudges.  There’s not enough storage space in your heart to bear the load.  Grudges just tumble out every time the door to your mouth is opened.

“My mother used to be a bitter woman,” Tim explained.  “But then she got Alzheimer’s disease and forgot what she was so bitter about.  She actually became a very pleasant person to be around.”  Oh, that we would forget while we are still well enough to enjoy the freedom!

Rather than growing bitter, choose to be better!  Think on the words to this poem found in John Cook’s book, The Book of Positive Quotations.

The Hard Way

For every hill I’ve had to climb,
For every stone that bruised my feet,
For all the blood and sweat and grime,
For blinding storms and burning heat,
My heart sings but a grateful song-
These were the things that made me strong.

Those do not sound like the words of a bitter person but a better person.  The fact is that hurt is inevitable in relationships.  We are sinful creatures living in a fallen world and it is only by the grace of God that we can be a blessing to anyone.  The only way to be better rather than bitter is to extend the same grace to others that God extended to us through Jesus Christ.  The key to writing a beautiful life story is to have a pencil with a good eraser.

If ever there was a person who had the “right” to be bitter, it was Joseph.  The Bible tells us he was thrown into a pit and left for dead, sold into slavery, falsely accused of attempted rape, forgotten by his friends, and unjustly detained in a prison cell for many years.  And yet, after his release and subsequent appointment as governor of Egypt, he came face-to-face with the very brothers who caused his demise. Rather than give them the punishment they deserved, he said, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).  Joseph chose not to be bitter, but to allow his circumstances to make him better.  And with God’s help, we can do the same.

Let’s Pray
Dear LORD, I choose to let the struggles of life make me better and not bitter.  I forgive those who have hurt me and refuse to hold a grudge.  I will look for the good in every difficult situation and think the best of others.  I know that a bitter heart produces bitter fruit, and I refuse to allow my heart to get caught in that trap. Now, Lord, help me accomplish what I have just confessed.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
Go back and read the story of Joseph in Genesis 37, 39-50.

Look for all the things that Joseph could have become bitter about.

What can you learn from Joseph?

Examine your heart and see if there is any bitterness lurking there.


Today’s devotion is taken from Sharon’s book

10 Responses to From Bitter to Better

  1. Sally October 29, 2009 at 1:35 am #

    I read your meassage on bitterness into better that would have been me years ago i was so bitter towards my parents for the child hood i had but then one day i looked at my own two small boys and that day i made a decision that would change my life i ask God to take away all the hate and bitterness and to give me a heart full of love for these to people and he did just that i can say that I started the healing process that very day no longer did i dwell on all the hurtful things that where done to me i chose instead to live with forgiveness as a christian we must learn to forgive and move on thank God I am free from that hate it will destory your soul if you let it

  2. IREEN October 29, 2009 at 4:04 pm #

    God is so amazing,,What He’s doin thro’ you is beyond comprehension..God bless you all Girlfriends//Well the message “i can’t -it is part 1 & 2″ was my breakthrough for getting my driver’s licence…so much fear dominated me that i did the exam 3 times..2 days before the exam..i browsed thro the archives…this messages ministered to me & yesterday morning in that exam throughout my exam..isaid//”I can do all things thro christ who strengthens me”..AND I DID IT..YES I did…The spirit of fear is gone..Bless God.

  3. Osiris October 29, 2009 at 9:22 pm #

    wow.. I so needed to read this.. I’ve been going thru a bitter situation since February of this year and can’t see to shake it off. but this has really helped I will pray and meditate on this..
    thank you so much.
    Osiris

  4. Rachel Charles November 6, 2009 at 10:25 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing this message because I direly need it. I’m having a hard time right now dealing with the root of bitterness in my life. I didn’t realize replaying the tapes of people’s wrongs was feeding this root. I’m trusting God for a healing that only He can provide. Thanks for hope to believe that I will one day be truly free.

  5. Lori November 26, 2009 at 1:20 pm #

    Thank u so much for this message. I just got to read it today. My family is struggling with finances. My husband’s hours have been cut & benefits have been taken away. I do not want to become bitter in my situtation. I want to see the blessings in my life & not look at the difficulties. Thank u again for reminding me that this will make me a stronger person for the Lord.

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  8. lee January 20, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

    Thank you very much i needed this so much today. Will go forward in this life being like Joseph forgive and forget….will remember the lesson but i will totaly forgive and forget. Thanks (-:

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