The bitterness bug.

June 15, 2010

As humans, we've all been bitten by the bitterness bug. We are either dealing with it now, or have dealt with it before. What are you bitter about right now? And be real. I know all of us are a little bitter about something as we sit here today.

The family member who has managed to distance other family members from someone we all love and care about.

The doctors who left you misdiagnosed and miserable for a year.

The couple who wrecked your car when you know they had been drinking.

The recognition you didn't get when it was very much deserved.

The "thank you" or "I'm sorry" that you are still waiting on.

The fact that you see your spouse's family every other week but only get to see your family a few times of year.

Those words our spouse said three days ago that we are still gripping tight.

The rude retail clerk who could have just been a little nicer.

That guy on the road who had the audacity to cut us off.

Do I need to go on?

Bitterness is a tough bug. It takes a huge bite into our heart, and then grows gnarly roots from the source of our soul.

Into our minds so we don't think clearly.
Into our eyes so we can't see people as God does.
Into our ears so that we only hear what we want to hear.
Into our mouths so we say things with such spite in an effort to get even.
Into our hands so we take the wrong actions.
Into our feet so we walk away from those we love.
Into our entire bodies where you can feel the burning as the roots grip tight.

You know that burning feeling I'm talking about. You might have gotten it as you were reading the examples of bitterness above. I did just as I was typing them.

God didn't make us to be bitter and to hold onto things that are of this world. Moses learned this firsthand, long before any of us came along.

As told in Exodus 15, Moses had just helped lead the Israelites out of Egypt and God had come along to help them. As the Egyptian army was setting out to destroy Moses and his crew, God parted the Red Sea so that Moses could safely cross with the Israelites. As soon as they were across and the Egyptians were edging into the sea, God released the waves that were being held back and destroyed the Egyptian army, ultimately saving Moses and the Israelites. They were more than thankful for the miracle and that God had shown up.

However, when the Israelites got to the desert, they ran out of water. They came up to an oasis that only had bitter water and immediately lashed out to Moses complaining that he had brought them here. Moses, feeling helpless himself and probably a little bit betrayed, turned to God who showed him a piece of wood. When Moses threw this piece of wood in the water, the water turned sweet and was no longer bitter.

And then God said, "If you listen obediently to how God tells you to live in his presence, obeying his commandments and keeping all his laws, then I won't strike you with all the diseases that I inflicted on the Egyptians; I am God your healer." {Exodus 15:25, The Message}

If we listen to God when life gets bitter, when that bitterness bug creeps up on us as it does over and over again, He will show us the way. He'll give us a piece of wood - a solution, an answer, an opportunity - to make our life sweeter. He created us for a sweet, sweet life.

What in your life has been bitten by the bitterness bug and needs that piece of wood to sweeten it up?
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