Sun, May 25, 2008
THE CURE FOR BITTERNESS! EXODUS 15:22-27
Exodus 15:22-27 by Joe Guglielmo
Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
Series: Sunday Service
THE CURE FOR BITTERNESS!
EXODUS 15:22-27

            Please turn in your Bibles this morning to Exodus chapter 15 as we look at: THE CURE FOR BITTERNESS!  You see, bitterness is one of those sins that will eat at your life, it will consume you and led to other sins of anger, jealousy, hatred, self-pity, un-teachableness, vindictiveness, having a desire for revenge, arrogance and-so-on.  Thus, it needs to be dealt with in our life. Let me share with you this story of Captain Ahab and the devastating affects bitterness had in his life. We are told:

            One of the most powerful pictures of the embittered heart is seen in Herman Melville’s character Captain Ahab in Moby Dick.

For long months of days and weeks, Ahab and anguish lay stretched together in one hammock, rounding in midwinter that dreary, howling Patagonian Cape, then it was, that his torn body and gashed soul bled into one another and so interfusing, made him mad.

            Ahab was eventually fitted with a peg leg, but there was no prosthesis for the soul. Obsessed with hate, Ahab set his face to search out and destroy Moby Dick, whatever the cost. He fitted a ship, hired a crew, and mounted a voyage of vengeance which led to his death, the destruction of his ship the Pequod, and the loss of all his men save one, Ishmael, who lived to tell the tale.

      - Robert J. Morgan, Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations, & Quotes, p. 71

            As Christians, our lives can become shipwrecked if we don’t deal with bitterness, if we don’t take the cure for bitterness!  It is as one person said, “No matter how long you nurse a grudge, it won’t get better.”  You see, you don’t nurse a grudge, you don’t nurse bitterness, you must crucify it as we will see this morning!

            Now keep in mind that Moses, by the power of God, has delivered the children of Israel from their bondage in Egypt. They were in Egypt for a total of 430 years, with 400 of those years as slaves, serving with rigor.  But God sent Moses to deliver them out of Egypt and bring them into the Promise Land.

            But before Pharaoh would let them go, it took 10 devastating plagues, the last one being the death of the firstborn in all of Egypt, including the animals. The only way the Angel of Death would Passover a home was if the blood of the lamb was applied to the door of their home. For the children of Israel, they obeyed the Lord and were sparred from this plague. But, for the Egyptians, we are told, And it came to pass at midnight that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock. So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead.  Exodus 12:29-30.

            With the death of Pharaoh’s only son, he drives the children of Israel out of the land, and they are now free. As they journey toward Mount Sinai or the mountain of God in Saudi Arabia, the Lord brings them to the Gulf of Aqaba, with mountains on either side of them.

            That would not have been such a big deal except that Pharaoh, 600 of his finest chariots, and according to Josephus, 250,000 soldiers are coming to bring them back to Egypt. You see, Pharaoh realized it was a bad idea to let his slaves go free and he is not exactly happy with all that has transpired in Egypt because of them.  So now the children of Israel are trapped and they begin to complain. They said, “ . . . ‘Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, “Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians”? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.’  Exodus 14:11-12.  Not exactly examples of faith!

            But the Lord tells Moses to stretch out his hand over the Red Sea and it opened up for them to cross through on dry land!  Walls of water some 1,000 feet high rose up on either side of them as they made this 11-mile journey to the other side.

            As the Egyptians tried to go after the children of Israel God put them in the dark until they were safe on the other side. Then Pharaoh and his army went forward and as they traveled in, God took off their chariot wheels, and the light went on for them. They basically said, “Let’s get out of here, we can’t fight against their God!” They should have realized that after those 10 plagues!

            Thus, God caused these walls of water to come crashing down upon the Egyptian army, killing 250,001 of the Egyptians, including Pharaoh and all their horses. And in Exodus 14:30-31 we see the response of the children of Israel to this great victory by God, So the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Thus Israel saw the great work which the Lord had done in Egypt; so the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and His servant Moses.

            As chapter 15 opens up, on the heels of this great victory, Moses sang a song of victory brought about by YAHWEH! Just a few verses of this song to show you how they felt. Starting in verse 1 of Exodus verse 15 we are told, Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying: ‘I will sing to the Lord, For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea! The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father's God, and I will exalt Him. The Lord is a man of war; The Lord is His name. Pharaoh's chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea. The depths have covered them; They sank to the bottom like a stone. . . . “The Lord shall reign forever and ever.” For the horses of Pharaoh went with his chariots and his horsemen into the sea, and the Lord brought back the waters of the sea upon them. But the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea.’”  Exodus 15:1-5, 18-19.

            Isn’t that great? Nothing is going to stop them now!  They sang in this song that their God is reigning forever and ever. His reign is eternal. Thus, they can do anything as they walk with the Lord!  Well, that is if they are willing to walk by faith. With that said, let’s begin reading in Exodus chapter 15, starting in verse 22 and see what the Lord has for us as we look at THE CURE FOR BITTERNESS!

EXODUS 15:22-27

            Isn’t that interesting!  On the heels of this great victory over the Egyptian army, the parting of the Red Sea, only 3 days later they forgot about the LORD! Yes, water for 2 to 3 million people is important and in the barren wilderness, not easy to find. But the Lord is the one who brought them to the waters of Marah.

            Now, can you imagine when they saw this water, what they did when it came into view!  They probably ran down to it and jumped right in ready to partake of those refreshing waters. But, to their surprise, as they drank the water it was bitter tasting, they couldn’t drink it. Thus, water, water everywhere but they were not able to drink a single drop of it!

            So what do they do?  They complain because they are bitter over the situation they now find themselves in and instead of looking to the Lord, the one they were praising and singing about 3 days earlier, they now complain to Moses for this fine mess he got them in now!

            The name Marah means bitterness and as Moses cried out to the Lord the Lord told Moses to take that tree and cast it into the waters and those bitter waters will be made sweet, they will be healed!  Guess what, it worked and what was once bitter was now sweet!  What was once bitter was now refreshing all because they placed the tree in the middle of that bitter situation and the waters were healed!

            So what does that have to do with us as Christians? How can we apply this to our own lives, our own walk with the Lord?  If your life is filled with bitterness, if you find yourself in a bitter situation, if you find yourself in a bitter relationship, do what the Lord told Moses to do.  Take the tree and place it in the middle of those bitter waters and they will be made sweet!

            Which tree am I talking about?  Do we have to cut down a tree?  What in the world am I talking about? Hear me out on this. Listen carefully to what I am going to say. If you find yourself in bitterness, you need to take the cross of Calvary and place it in the middle of that situation so that there can be a healing. Those bitter waters can be made sweet. Peter tells us in I Peter 2:24, who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness — by whose stripes you were healed. The Amplified Bible puts it like this, He personally bore our sins in His [own] body on the tree [as on an altar and offered Himself on it], that we might die (cease to exist) to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. And the Living Bible tells us, He personally carried the load of our sins in his own body when he died on the cross so that we can be finished with sin and live a good life from now on. For his wounds have healed ours!

            Notice that Peter tells us that the cross of Calvary, the work that Jesus did for us should bring healing into our lives and thus, that bitterness should be removed from our lives if we are willing to surrender it to Jesus, put the cross in the middle of that situation we are facing!

            Can God do that? You bet He can. Let me show you what I mean with this story. We are told:

            She was an embittered woman, Charlotte Elliott of Brighton, England. Her health was broken, and her disability had hardened her. “If God loved me,” she muttered, “he would not have treated me this way.”

            Hoping to help her, a Swiss minister named Dr. Cesar Malan visited the Elliott’s on May 9, 1822. Over dinner, Charlotte lost her temper and railed against God and family in a violent outburst. Her embarrassed family left the room, and Dr. Malan, left alone with her, stared at her across the table.

            “You are tired of yourself, aren’t you?” he said at length. “You are holding to your hate and anger because you have nothing else in the world to cling to. Consequently, you have become sour, bitter, and resentful.”

            “What is your cure?” asked Charlotte.

            “The faith you are trying to despise.”

            As they talked, Charlotte softened. “If I wanted to become a Christian and to share the peace and joy you possess,” she finally asked, “what would I do?”

            “You would give yourself to God just as you are now, with your fighting’s and fears, hates and loves, pride and shame.”

            “I would come to God just as I am? Is that right/”

            Charlotte did come just as she was. Her heart was changed that day. As time passed she found and claimed John 6:37 as a special verse for her. “ . . . the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.”

            Several years later, her brother, Rev. Henry Elliott, was raising funds for a school for the children of poor clergymen. Charlotte wrote a poem, and it was printed and sold across England. The leaflet said: Sold For the Benefit of St. Margaret’s Hall, Brighton: Him That cometh To Me I Will In No Wise Cast Out. Underneath was Charlotte’s poem – which has since become the most famous invitational hymn in history:

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

- Robert J. Morgan, Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations, & Quotes, p. 71-72

            You see, you can allow God to make your life, your attitude, better or you can remain bitter.  But, if you remain bitter, I am sorry to say, your walk with God is off. I realize that may offend some of you, but that is the reality! Don’t believe me, but turn to Hebrews 12:14-17 and listen to what Paul has to say regarding this issue of bitterness. He wrote, Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

            Paul is telling us to GET RIGHT!  You see, Paul is admonishing us live at peace with our fellow man, not to let bitterness grow because it will infect those around you. Instead, let the love of God flow from your life and let that infect those around you!  You see, you can produce bitter fruit or good fruit; the choice is yours if you want to STAND STRONG andGET RIGHT!

            Now is Paul speaking of a works righteousness here, a works salvation?  Not at all!  You see, positionally we are in Christ, but practically speaking we need to live out our faith if we desire to have a close relationship with God.  You CANNOT be bitter, fighting with your fellow man and be close to the Lord. I have seen people do this and it is not pretty and it doesn’t really fool anyone! 

You may not believe me, you shouldn’t, but just listen to what John tells us in I John 2:9-11, He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.  He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.  But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.  You see, our practice needs to match our position!

            The example that Paul shows them is that of Esau who sold his birthright for a morsel of food, to satisfy his body appetite and many Christians do the same by selling their birthright of intimacy with God for the temporary, satisfying their body appetite, what pleases them instead of the Lord!  Now Esau didn’t get this birthright back even though he cried out to God, why? Because his cry was based on what he lost and he was not willing to repent. Esau wanted the blessing of God but he didn’t want God! It doesn’t work like that!  Thus,GET RIGHT with your fellow man!

            Now, before we move on, what is bitterness? Our word "bitterness" is from the Greek word pikria, a word which is only found in four New Testament passages (Acts 8:23; Rom. 3:14; Eph. 4:31; Heb. 12:15).

Arndt and Gingrich define pikria as "bitterness, animosity, anger, harshness" (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 663). H.A.W. Meyer defines the word as "a bitter, malignant, and hostile disposition" (Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Epistle to the Acts of the Apostles, p. 172). Marvin Vincent defines it as a "bitter frame of mind" (Word Studies In The New Testament, Vol. III, p. 397).

John Eadie says that pikria is "a figurative term denoting that fretted and irritable state of mind that keeps a man in perpetual animosity -- that inclines him to harsh and uncharitable opinions of men and things -- that makes him sour, crabbed, and repulsive in his general demeanor -- that brings a scowl over his face, and infuses venom into the words of his tongue" (Commentary on the Epistle to the Colossians, p. 357).

Bitterness is a hostile disposition and a poisonous frame of mind that causes people to brood, scowl and become repulsive in demeanor.

The seed of bitterness is a hurt that is planted in someone. It may be intentional or unintentional. Someone does not mean to hurt you, but you were hurt. Sometimes the hurt is only imagined. No one has hurt you, but somehow you feel that someone has done something wrong to you. There are also times when the hurt may be the very chastisement of God upon your life. That is the context of Hebrews 12:14-15.

The soil of bitterness is a heart that harbors hostility and does not deal with hurt by the grace of God. When someone becomes bitter, the bitterness takes root in the heart and grows deeper.

The world is full of people who have not dealt with an old hurt. They look for things to criticize, people to find fault with, and ways to justify the way they feel. Have you ever seen people who are hypercritical? Generally, they are bitter people. They know how to push your hot buttons until you react in a way to further justify their bitterness. Then, they can say, "Aha! I was right. I have a right to be bitter."

            Here’s the thing. Do we really have the right to be bitter towards people, towards situations we find ourselves in? I would think most of us or even all of us would say, “Absolutely not!” And yet, when we find ourselves in these situations, we can justify our bitterness, we pass the blame onto the other person or situation we are facing.  Thus, we do have a right to be bitter, at least that is what the flesh says, but not the Spirit of God!

            Listen to what Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:30-32, And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

           Look at what Paul is saying here. He first lists what should be removed from our lives and then he tells us what it should be replaced with.  Let’s look at this list and notice what tops this list!

            BITTERNESS:  Paul starts out with bitterness and he uses the Greek word PIKRIA (pik-ree’-ah) and it speaks of a smoldering resentment.  The kind that just keeps building and building inside of you making you sour and unloving.

            WRATH: Next Paul speaks of wrath or THUMOS (thoo-mos’) in the Greek and it is like a wild rage. A good illustration of this is straw that catches on fire, it burns very quickly and before you know it its out, but in its path there is much destruction.  I am sure you have seen this before in people.

            ANGER: Paul then speaks of anger or ORGE (or-gay’) in the Greek and this is more of an internal feeling and reflects a long-standing continual anger, something you just can’t let go and it builds inside of you.

            CLAMOR: Clamor is a loss of control that results in a public outburst of emotions.  The word in the Greek is KRAUGE (krow-gay’) and gives us the idea of letting everyone know how or what you grievance is.

            BLASPHEMY OR EVIL SPEAKING: BLASPHEMIA (blas-fay-me’-ah), which we translate blasphemy or evil speaking is an ongoing bitterness that rises in the heart and has defamed another person.

            MALICE: Paul ends with malice or KAKIA (kak-ee’-ah) in the Greek and it speaks of evil, all kinds. It is just a vicious character that is produced from the above fruits.

            Each of these, Paul tells us, must be put away or removed from our lives. We must decide to do it for if we refuse we can and will grieve the Holy Spirit.  A child of God should not have these as fruits in his life. And did you notice how they are all linked together. You start with a resentful spirit (bitterness) which leads to a quick burst of emotion (wrath) which leads to a long standing continual feeling of anger that grows inside of you (anger) that results in a public outburst of what you feel (clamor) then into the tearing down of another person (evil speaking) and ends with a continual hateful disposition (malice).  Don’t hold onto this garbage, but let it go!

            Instead of having a life that is characterized by being unkind, hardhearted, unforgiving and unloving, we should be the exact opposite. We should be kind to each other and this is not a passive sort of response.  It is love in action; it is reflected in what we do to each other.  It is not a show we put on for people to make them think we love them, we really do!  We are to be tenderhearted, have compassion on each other.  To try to understand where the other person is coming from and meets his or her needs. And Paul links this all to forgiveness. Why?  Because of what God did for us, in that He forgave us so why can’t we forgive others?  We can if we want.  And if we treat others as God treats us, we will fulfill everything that Paul tells us to do in this chapter!

            Now, take a close look at how you lived your life before you were saved and try to understand that God forgave you of all those sins.  Why should we try to play God and be unforgiving towards people?  The new life is tough but as God said, “ . . . ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’  I Peter 1:16.

            If that still doesn’t do it for you, then what about what Luke tells us in Luke 23:34,Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’ . . .” As Jesus is being crucified for doing good, not for doing anything wrong, He had every right to be bitter, to be angry. He could have said, “Father, toast them! Destroy these people, these worthless, good for nothing, unthankful, ungrateful people!”  But that is not what He said. He said to the Father to forgive them. You see, no bitterness at all because love superceded that!

            Paul puts this into perspective as he shows us why we should not be bitter; why we should love people, not letting the situations we face bring us into bitterness!  In Colossians 3:12-17 Paul tells us, Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

This is what should flow from the lives of Christians, the person who has taken off the old garments, the filthy garments and has put on Christ!  These qualities that Paul speaks of here are to cover the new man.  Remember what Jesus said of how people will know if we are His or not? He said in John 13:34-35, A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.  Remember the song from years ago, “They will know we are Christians by our love”?  May people know that we are His by our LOVE!

             Let’s look at these qualities that should flow from our lives:

TENDER MERCIES: (OIKTIRMOS) – This is speaking of compassion. Jesus showed us this quality in His life as we are told in Matthew 9:35-36, Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.  But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.  May we have hearts filled with compassion towards people.

KINDNESS: (CHRESTOTES) – This is speaking of an unselfish spirit as you help others, looking out for others in need and then helping them.

HUMILITY: (TAPEINOPHROSUNE) – This is speaking of humbling yourself before others, to put others above you. Jesus, in Matthew 11:29 said, Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  It is an absence of pride!

MEEKNESS: (PRAUTES) – This is speaking of denying yourself to minister to others, maybe even suffering so you can minister to them.

LONGSUFFERING: (MAKROTHUMIA) – This is speaking of self-restraint no mater what comes your way, what they may do to you.

BEARING WITH ONE ANOTHER: This is speaking of “to endure, to hold out in spite of persecution, threats, injury, indifference, or complaints and not retaliate.”  It is putting up with people!

FORGIVING: It is hard to harbor unforgiveness when you look at the Lord and see how much He has forgiven us of all our sins, all the wrongs we have done and will do!

            What keeps us from not manifesting these qualities in our life?  SELF!  You see, instead of being heavenly minded we are self-consumed, self-absorbed and then what flows from our life is not the nature of Jesus but the nature of the world!  What can we do about that? Paul tells us in Galatians 5:16, I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  In other words, surrender yourself to the Holy Spirit, put off the old man and put on the Lord!  And here is the key in verse 14, what holds all these things together, kind of the initiator of them.

Love is what all these other qualities spring-forth from, the AGAPE love of God.  Paul, in I Corinthians chapter 13 tells us, Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails . . . And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:4-8a, 13.  If we would allow the love of God to fill our lives, then the love of God would flow from our lives!

            When Paul says to let the peace of God rule in your hearts he is basically saying, “Let the peace of God be the umpire in your life.” How do I know if what I am doing is right or wrong? We allow God’s Word to guide us and give us peace about our actions, if it is right or to change our behavior if it is wrong! You see, if you want to go by your feelings in a situation, chances are you are going to be wrong, you are going to be way off, and you will even justify your wrong behavior.  In other words, bitterness is given room to grow in your life.

We are told in Jeremiah 17:9-10, The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?  I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.  Thus, allow God through His Word show you how to walk, what you should do!

            Paul is admonishing us to have the Word of God abundantly fill our lives and as we do we then can minister to others within the body of Christ by teaching them the things of God and admonishing them or warning them of their wrong behavior. We keep each other accountable according to the Word of God!  And please remember that the Word of God is the final authority on matters of the heart!

            We can minister to others not only with the Word of God but with worship also, the worship of God with Psalms or songs out of the book of Psalms, with hymns or other songs of praise, with spiritual songs as opposed to secular songs. It is a life that is overflowing with the goodness of God!  But that is not going to happen if you are bitter because you are grieving the Holy Spirit as we have read already!

            And Paul goes on to say that whatever you do, whatever you say, you are doing it unto the Lord.  When you walk with that perspective, you will bring glory to God and minister to people!

            And here is the bottom line. God has forgiven you of all your sins. Did you hear that? God has forgiven you of ALL your sins!  Thus, if God has done that for you, can’t you let things go, can’t you forgive?  You see, it is your choice, but why be BITTER when you can be BETTER in Christ!

            One more verse I would like to look at and that is in Isaiah 38:17, which says,Indeed it was for my own peace That I had great bitterness; But You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption, For You have cast all my sins behind Your back.  Where was he headed? To destruction!  Why was he headed for destruction? Because bitterness filled his life – the sin of bitterness was consuming him! What delivered him from this bitterness? It was the love of God that king Hezekiah saw and he was willing to let that bitterness go and have God reign in his life!

One New Year’s Eve at London’s Garrick Club, British dramatist Frederick Lonsdale was asked by Symour Hicks to reconcile with a fellow member. The two had quarreled in the past and never restored their friendship. “You must,” Hicks said to Lonsdale. “It is very unkind to be unfriendly at such a time. Go over now and wish him a happy New Year.”

So Lonsdale crossed the room and spoke to his enemy. “I wish you a happy New Year,” he said, “but only one.”

- Today in the Word, July 5, 1993

            That is not true forgiveness. Remember, we are to forgive as Christ has forgiven us and thus, there is no room for bitterness to grow in our lives if we let love flow.  Listen to a few quotes regarding bitterness and then we will conclude our study this morning. We are told:

            UNHEALED WOUNDS:

            Bitterness is the offspring of an unhealed wound—whose parents are unforgiveness and time. (Kent Crockett, I Once Was Blind But Now I Squint, Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2004, 94)

            THE ROOT OF BITTERNESS:

The longer you allow the root of bitterness to grow in the soil of your heart, the more love it will devour. (Kent Crockett, I Once Was Blind But Now I Squint, Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2004, 94)

IT STARTS BY BEING OFFENDED:

Every bitter person had his or her start through being offended by someone.

(Kent Crockett, I Once Was Blind But Now I Squint, Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2004, 100)

            THE COST OF BITTERNESS:

"We cannot live with bitterness because it will first manifest itself in our spirit, then in our emotions, and finally in our bodies." --Tom Drout

            If you are harboring bitterness in your life over a situation, give it to the Lord before it destroys your witness. If you are harboring bitterness towards another person, give it to the Lord and forgive them before it brings destruction to your life!

            If you do God will bring times of refreshing in your life and if you continue to walk in bitterness, you will be dry, barren. Look at what Exodus 15:27 says, Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there by the waters.  You see, after the bitterness came times of refreshing as they moved from bitterness to a sweet life and it is the Lord who brought to their lives refreshing!  The cure for bitterness is applying the tree, the cross of Jesus Christ to the situation, to our own lives, allowing His love to flow in us and through us, a sweet life. Thus, instead ofBITTERNESS in the flesh, let us be BETTER in Christ!