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BITTERNESS-FREE HEART (3)

Date: 
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Bible Meditation: 
Proverbs 14: 6-14

“The HEART knows its own BITTERNESS, and a stranger does not share its joy” – Proverbs 14:10

Mature Believers take personal responsibility for radical spiritual surgery to secure a BITTERNESS-FREE HEART: ““The HEART knows its own BITTERNESS, and a stranger does not share its joy” (Pro.14:10). Each of us has a choice to become BETTER or BITTER at any point in time and throughout our lifetime. Once we recognise that Bitterness is trying to or has taken hold of our hearts, we need to acknowledge and confess it out loud to the Lord and to other mature believers for prayers and counsel.

When Naomi returned to Bethlehem after losing her husband and sons, she asked family and friends to refer to her as “Mara” meaning bitter. Her situation made her bitter, but in the course of God’s ordained purpose and timing, she was blessed by the Lord with a grandson. We must be willing for a thorough eradication of bitterness from our heart, either personally or through helpers of destiny.

When people know how we really feel, they can pray and encourage us to overcome the bitterness inside: “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he who HARDENS his HEART will fall into calamity” (Pro.28:13-14). A bitter heart is a hardened heart; and it can happen to any one of us if we are not vigilant. When bitterness attempts to possess our hearts, we must back to our Lord and remember that He overcame the world: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jh.16:33). The NIV records the Lord as saying: “But TAKE HEART! I have overcome the world.

Bitterness is a mark of backsliding in the heart: “The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied from above” (v.14). Three broad steps to eradicating bitterness are as follows:

Let God Reveal It. Sometimes people say, “I know my heart, there's no bitterness in me.” The truth of the matter is that we don't know our own heart: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer.17:9). A deceitful heart cannot diagnose a deceitful heart. We need to let God the Holy Spirit perform the required radical spiritual surgery.

Let Grace Respond to It. A response of bitterness is never right when someone has wronged us. We need to ask God to forgive us, and He will by His grace. If someone has wronged us, we must cut it down and forget it. By the grace of God, we can bury that hurt in the grave of God's forgetfulness. Justice is God giving us what we deserve; Mercy is God not giving us what we deserve; Grace is God giving us what we don't deserve.

Let Good Replace It. We are admonished to “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" (Heb.12:14). We cannot be holy unless we follow peace with men. It is worth it when we forgive. But, if we say, “Look what they've done! I am not going to let them off the hook.” Well, they are not on the hook – the bitter person is! When we forgive, we set two people free and one of them is our self.

Beyond examining our own heart, Believers in Christ are equipped to reach out to others who have roots of bitterness implanted in them. No human being is exempt from the temptation of the hardening heart. A bitter heart diminishes our ability to serve God, but a pure heart, even if imperfect empowers us to respond more effectively. When we taste something bitter, it is usual to scrunch up our faces in disgust and try to avoid tasting it again. That same response is figuratively what bitterness does to our heart, soul, and mind, thus affecting relationships with others. Beloved, to what extent are you taking personal responsibility to overcome Bitterness?

Adetokunbo O. Ilesanmi (Meditations)

Prayer: 
Lord, help us take personal responsibility to become better rather than bitter, and to sustain a BITTERNESS-FREE HEART, in Jesus name.
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