Tag Archives: Peace

Concerning bitterness

1 May

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled. Hebrews 12:14-15

When we’ve been wronged, when we’re the innocent ones, when life all around us seems to be attacking us, it’s easy to feel like a victim. And, it’s really easy to become bitter and unforgiving toward those who have hurt us.

Truth be told, it’s hard to forgive sometimes. It’s especially hard to forgive someone who hasn’t even apologized to us. Even more so, it’s hard to not speak of them in bitterness and anger.

But we MUST fight.

Matthew 18:21-22 tells us that we must forgive others over and over and over again. And, it doesn’t just mean we have to forgive them each time they wrong us, although that is important. But sometimes it means we have to forgive them over and over and over for one sin against us that keeps surfacing in our minds, causing us pain each time we recall it because, well, maybe they didn’t say sorry. Or maybe they did, but we’re still hurting.

I truly believe that if we stay in a bitter and unforgiving place, God can’t work in our lives. He may not change our hearts if we become consumed with self-pity and don’t ask him for help. I have found, in these times, that when we feel bitter, we should ask God for compassion and then pray for the ones who hurt us. Through this, we will learn that compassion! After all, we are all sinners. Not one of us is perfect. And the Word says we have to forgive. So forgive, and love, and pray. It’s hard. But it’s freeing.

In the Hebrews verse I shared at the start of this post, we’re told to “strive for peace with everyone.” If you’ve ever been wronged by someone, you might be thinking something like, “Well, I tried. But they wronged me. It’s not MY fault.”

But it is still our place to “strive for peace”! The bible wasn’t written so that we could point the finger and say, “YOU shouldn’t have done THAT.” Nope, it’s for all of us to learn from. So, to strive for peace when we’ve been wronged might look like this: Not speaking in bitterness. Not only because bitterness drives us to that awful place of self-pity, but also because it may cause others around us to “become defiled” when we speak it.

The ESV Study Bible provides a great commentary on these verses in Hebrews. Check it out:

As they pursue peace and holiness, Christians should watch out for each other in order that no one falls short of the gift of eternal salvation. The author warns against “bitterness” by alluding to Deuteronomy 29:18, which describes one who turns away from God and pursues other gods. A bitter and resentful person is like a contagious poison, spreading his resentment to others.

That last sentence is my favorite. Man, I never want to become a bitter and “contagious poison,” do YOU?! This reminds me of James 3:8, where we are told the tongue is a “restless evil, full of deadly poison.” Um, yikes… This is even more of a reason to stay away from speaking bitterness!

If you can relate to this post today, remember these nine words: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control (Galatians 5:22-23). Bitterness is a complete antonym to any of the fruits of the spirit, don’t you think? In such a time when we’re tempted to speak bitterly (or sing bitterly, if you remember my post about Adele’s music), we must exercise that last one (self-control) in order to not cause others around us to fall.

If you’re facing difficulty in your life right now because of the way that someone hurt you, I pray that you would find healing in Jesus, and that you would learn to forgive your brother–seven times 70 times–and that you would not become bitter or spread bitterness.

Instead, choose to live in love, joy, peace, patience, etc. Sounds a lot less miserable too, doesn’t it?

Jen

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No rhymes. No instruments. Just my Psalm.

5 Apr

Lord, you are good. You are a God of mercy and of peace.

Peace that passes understanding was once foreign to me,
but through my pain and now in my healing,
your Holy Spirit floods me with that very thing.
You are peace.

I did not–no, I do not–understand the enormity of your merciful goodness,
yet I have tasted and seen that you are indeed good. And merciful.
You are mercy.

You rescued me. You placed me on a new path.
You saved me from destruction and gave me new life.
You are faithful.

So here I stand, full of new life, knowing that you are faithful.
With each passing day I yearn to become more like your Son.
Lord, help me that I might have the patience to let perseverance have its perfect work in me.

And now with open eyes, I see my friends, my neighbors, my acquaintances–
I see them hurting just as I was.
I see they are hopeless, just as I once was.

But you call me to your comfort,
and then to share that comfort.
You call me to serve, just like Jesus.
To bring you glory, just like Jesus.
To use my talents to glorify your name.

Where you lead me, Lord, I will follow.
Thank you for your goodness.
Thank you for your mercy.
Thank you for your faithfulness.
Thank you that you are a constant, even when my world falls apart.

Thank you, Father, for allowing me to be called your daughter.

Amen.

Fruitless?

9 Mar

I’m sitting here drinking my morning protein shake and one word comes to my mind: fruitless.

Yep, we’re all out of fruit in the house. No strawberries or bananas for my smoothie. It still tastes okay–a decent mix of peanut butter and chocolate protein powder–but it lacks the nutrients I need that I normally get  from the fruit I put in it.

This makes me think about my life.

Am I bearing fruit in my life or have I been fruitless? Am I adding to the kingdom? Am I using the gifts God has given me to do his work and bring him glory? Have I been more like Christ with each day?

Or am I sitting here, selfishly trying to be a perfectionist so that others look at me and think highly of me? Am I reading my bible every day just so that I can tell my youth group students that they need to read their bibles every day without being convicted myself?

On the outside, I think a person can very well look like they are doing great works for the kingdom. But it’s all about what’s in our hearts. It’s about a desire to have a biblical heart. To be humble, to surrender, to allow the Word of God to speak to our hearts so that we change, we grow and we become more like Christ.

More on fruit

The Word tells us very clearly what the fruits of the Holy Spirit are in Galations 5:22-23.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

When we allow the Holy Spirit to enter in, we are wholly surrendering ourselves to becoming more like Christ and bearing these qualities. But it takes work. Hard work. A lot of effort. It’s hard to have self-control, patience and kindness. But this is our calling.

Will you be challenged with me today to bear more fruit?

Jen

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