Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. – Hebrews 12:15 NLT
Yesterday we were looking at the life of Hannah, future mother of the prophet Samuel. But at this point in her life she has been barren for many years. We find her "crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord" (1 Samuel 1:10 NLT).
We need to understand Hannah's reaction. Bitterness is the residue of unresolved conflict. It's what happens when you move past a situation but it's not really resolved. So bitterness begins to grow. It develops into all kinds of problems. Difficulty in people's lives takes a natural pathway. I see it in my life and in the lives of others.
Difficulty easily produces bitterness. That's the first step on the path. I'm not talking about a problem that lasts a day. I'm describing a frustration that lasts over time: you are frustrated with your job, with your marriage relationship; you have an on-going health problem or financial strain. The natural by-product is bitterness. There's something inside of you that starts to become cynical. You hold a grudge. The next step is blame. This is because difficulty exposes us. It makes us feel vulnerable: I feel like a failure-a failure in ministry, a failure as a wife or husband, a failure at my job, a failure because I'm single-nobody wants me. This is too painful. So bitterness looks to blame someone-whose fault is it? Next step on the path: bitterness leads to blindness, lack of understanding of my situation, of my heart. Blaming someone else becomes an excuse for sin. "This happened to me, so I'll go out and drink. I'll go sleep around." But Hannah chooses another path to walk.
Faithwalkers Midwest 2014
Dealing with Disappointment Heroically
One-Year Reading Plan:
1 Timothy 5:1-25
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