There are a few members of my family that enjoy a good crime drama. True life crime stories are just as fascinating. What amazes me is the lengths that some will go to in order to trap their victims. Poison can be one of the most difficult methods to detect. Did you know that poison can be sweet? It can be hidden in everyday food so its not detected by the target or those observing.
I’m finding that bitterness can permeate our everyday life in the same way. Sometimes through speech, our thought life and interactions with others. Its often not obvious but can be slowly interjected into everyday conversation. We relay stories involving perceived hurts we have endured at the hands of others or we listen to such tales. The next thing we know we have picked up an offense against another. That is when the bitterness starts to take root. It doesn’t take much to make it grow.
Bitterness is much easier to detect when an obvious fault has been perpetrated but it is no less poisonous in those cases. It destroys just as much and makes it easier for us to justify. So what is the antidote? How do we keep from being contaminated?
In Exodus 15:23-25, the only source of water for the Israelites is in a place called Marah which is literally translated “bitter”. The Lord showed Moses a tree to cast into the water which became not only drinkable but sweet.
What a fantastic picture! When we are presented with pools of bitterness, we are to call out to the giver of life. Some would even say that the wood represents the cross being placed in the midst of the bitter pool to make it sweet. Even better, Jesus heals the hurts and offers sweet living water.
When the negative comments or thoughts come in a trickle, when they are disguised as sharing concerns or getting support for the hurts someone has endured, we still have to call on the one who can make bitter things sweet. He can heal the hurtful words and keep them from killing off relationships. He can keep us from poisoning ourselves as well as keep us from injuring others.
There are at least two keys that will keep a root of bitterness from growing, one is forgiveness, the second is taking thoughts captive.Forgiveness is addressed in Ephesians. Verses 4:31,32 admonish us “31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” When we think of all that Christ has forgiven us for, its sobering to think of the petty things (in contrast) that we hold onto.Do you have little things that have sprouted up in your life? Do you have unforgiveness that needs to be addressed? Is today the day to search your heart for those things that only God can turn sweet?
Up next: Forgiveness and taking thoughts captive.