Okay, I am tired of copying and pasting the intro and it dawned on my this morning, I can do this. We are in a series and this is the last day – VBSFAWTG&G. It’s an annual thing and you can see the first day and rest of the week here —-> https://www.laurareimer.net/vbsfawtgg-2023-day-1/
So we wind up our week with the fifth temptation I wrote down- BITTERNESS.
As I pondered it and what to say I decided to just start by looking up the word “bitter” in my trusty old worn out Webster’s Dictionary.
It was an eye-opener.
Here are some of the words in the definition and I will expand on the highlighted ones following the summary:
In taste; acrid and disagreeable.
Distasteful or distressing to the mind <sense of shame>
Marked by intensity or severity
Accompanied by severe pain or suffering
Being relentlessly determined
Harshly reproachful —> complaints
Marked by cynicism and rancor
Expressive of severe pain, grief and regret
Cynicism – a fault finding captious critic especially one who believes that human conduct is motivated wholly by self-interest
Rancor – old language “rancid”; bitter deep seated ill will
That’s not pretty.
There is nothing in that list that I would ever aspire to or want to hold onto or feel. But all of those things describe me when I succumb to the temptation to be bitter. And all of those things are sinful.
Once again, the temptation is not the sin…
And yet I have been tempted towards harboring bitterness.
As I typed that I had the image come to mind of mouse poisoning and how the mouse is drawn to it but it works to cause suffocation of the whole body system. The mouse is driven out of dark hiding places to seek water and air…and dies.
This is me harboring bitterness.
Eating my own poison and suffocating my soul and spirit.
So why on earth is this a temptation for someone who avoids conflict at all costs?
I tried to think what usually creates an atmosphere where I am tempted to be bitter and I landed on some sources.
I get bitter when I see injustices and unrighteousness not only prevail but seemingly get rewarded and even celebrated.
I get bitter when my good intentions are misconstrued or misinterpreted and I end up looking like I meant harm when I was trying to do good.
I get bitter when I feel like the rats are definitely winning the race.
I get bitter when I feel like something that was denied me seems to be poured out in abundance on someone else.
As I look at those things that prepare me to harbor bitterness, I see that in every case I am relying on the opinions and viewpoint of man and not God.
I know that God does not celebrate injustice or unrighteousness and He is patiently waiting for all to repent. He will judge fairly and righteously one day and I must trust in Him. Knowing this I can speak up for those with no voice, without the bitter and caustic words that tend to take over when my flesh forgets God has the final say.
I know that God alone knows the intentions of the heart and when I am misunderstood, I can humble myself before Him and ask Him to show me if I was wrong. If I was, I seek forgiveness. If I was not, I let Him be my defense instead of bitterly trying to present my case before the jury of my peers.
I know that what appears to be wins by the rats will ultimately be their defeat in the end. The rats are deceived and will lose big-time and so compassion and prayer is more what is needed for them. Plus there is still good and right happening. I need to ask for eyes to see God’s viewpoint and replace bitterness with faith and hope.
And I know that gratitude for what I do have is the antidote for the poison of comparison in my heart.
Here is are some verses to memorize:
Make sure that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up, causing trouble and by it, defiling many. Hebrews 12:15
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32
And now for a sweet treat to finish us off:
Lola’s Sundae for any day
Vanilla Ice cream (homemade if possible)
- Rich fudge topping (Hershey’s hot fudge is a favorite) warmed, of course
- Peanuts – Spanish, dry roasted, whatever
- Canned whipped cream
- A maraschino cherry or four
This is my preferred way to enjoy ice cream and I highly recommend it.
I hope you had a great week
You are the best and I loved sharing VBS with YOU <3