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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

There Is No Love in Bitterness

Why is it that so many Christians are bitter? Sure, they may have had some terrible things happen in their lives. Yes, their lives may not have turned out like they thought they would. No one doubts that tragedy and hard times can turn your life around but why do some people have such bitterness about it? Why is it that those who say they profess to Jesus have no knowledge of forgiving? Why do they not understand letting their pain go?

Bitterness is a common malady. It is rehearsing wrongs committed against you. You get madder each time these wrongs are "relived" in your mind. Your thoughts of revenge do no good.

Bitterness makes the one wronged into a helpless victim. Revenge is the action of someone who is helpless. I think that's why this motif sells so well in Hollywood. People want to see the one who does wrong to "get theirs." They care little if the civil rights are stepped upon. They care little of what motivated the wrong doer. They want revenge for the other person. Seeing another get revenge doesn't give relief. It perpetuates the dream of revenge. It makes us all more bitter.

Some people act bitterly when they stand for a cause. They feel that others have violated the supreme rules which should have been followed and feel justified in violent actions to claim revenge. Thus, you will see normally, law-abiding citizens sabotage loggers equipment. They will confront whalers on the ocean. They will yell angrily at those who enter abortion clinics. They will fly airplanes into IRS buildings.

Please note that I am not saying we should be silent about the things we care passionately about. I hate abortion but I have to love those who get abortions. I have to tell them about forgiveness. I preach against it but I still have to keep the bitterness from infecting my life.

Jesus was horribly treated after He was arrested. He was beaten, spat upon and put through a scourging. People lied about Him. One of His friends denied he knew Him. One of them turned Him in.

Jesus never became bitter because He understood "for God so loved the world." His sacrifice came from His love. In the end He truly practiced what He preached. He asked for the forgiveness of those who crucified Him.

There just is no love in bitterness.

Matthew 5:44 (NIV)
44  But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

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