One Sunday our preacher was preaching on Romans 12. I was taking notes and listening intently. He said, “We must take the discipline of the Lord seriously.” With my pen in midair, I thought, “Take it seriously? I don’t even know what it is!”
A thought came into my mind, “What do you think these things are that are happening to you?”
I knew that thought was from the Lord and responded “Oh! They are your discipline!” It was an “aha” moment that has helped me understand how God disciplines us.
Think about the word “bitterness.” It is one of the roots of sin and may start out from a very small seed of an offense of a loved one. Seeds grow and form roots under ground. Then leaves and stems and branches appear above. It is the same with root of bitterness. It can morph into a huge conflict over a simple matter.
There are many aliases for bitterness: I am simply hurt by what he/she said. I was wounded by his/her actions. That made me so anger! I feel bad about it. I am simply a victim.
Usually we direct our anger and hurt toward a person or thing never realizing God is using them (or it) to chastise us. We may blame Satan if we are so “nice” we can’t blame a person. Sometimes we can blame the government or circumstances.
The Lord is the one who uses these means to discipline us. Our life will change for the better if we learn to look to the Him and say, “I needed that. Thank you and help me do the right thing.”
Bitterness leads to discouragement and “failing the grace of God.” Then it is easy to give up and quit on a marriage, your children, or your friends who have hurt you.
Ask yourself, “Do I understand that this pain has its origin in God and that the people involved are merely God’s agents? Do I believe God is good and that this wound is for my good?”
Affirmation is the path to healing of heart wounds because “God causes all things to work for good in the lives of those who love Him”.
A double tragedy happens when we allow bitterness to stay in our heart. (1) We suffer the consequences of our “failing the grace of God.” (2) Bitterness cannot rest. It needs an audience! We have to tell everyone our side of the story and they are drawn into our bitterness and “thereby many become defiled.”
Memory Verse: "Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. [Read verses 4-7]" (Hebrews 12:3)
Prayer: Father, I didn’t know that the consequences of not forgiving the little hurts could grow untill they bring separation form the people I love or work with. Please forgive me and wash the sin of harboring bitterness in my heart. Fill me with your Spirit so I can have strength to do the right thing.
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