The Bane of Bitterness

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The Bane of Bitterness
"See, in place of peace my soul had bitter sorrow. But You have kept back my
soul from the underworld; for You have put all my sins out of Your memory. For the
underworld is not able to give You praise, death gives You no honor: for those who go
down into the underworld there is no hope in Your mercy. The living, the living man,
he will give You praise, as I do this day: the father will give the story of Your mercy to
his children" (Isaiah 38:17-19 BBE).

Bitterness is much more than an emotion, bad feeling or attitude. What then is it?
Bitterness is a destructive lack of understanding; it is a result of not having God's
perspective. Not seeing things His way is so significant and powerful that, if left to do
its work, it can defile and destroy a body and even a soul.

Bitterness is disagreement with God. It is a rejection of His will and judgment, even
though the one rejecting does not see or know he or she is in disagreement. One thing
we must all know, a truth that carries us wherever we go, is that whatever happens in
our lives, we either need or deserve. Let me say it again: Whatever happens in our
lives, we either need or deserve.



       The problem is people do not believe or trust that
                       God is in full control.
Need: Though Job did not deserve his tragic, horrendous losses, he needed what
happened to him. He himself acknowledged this when it was over:

"In the past I knew only what others had told me, but now I have seen You with my
own eyes. So I am ashamed of all I have said and repent in dust and ashes"
(Job 42:5-6 GNB).

Job was delivered from trusting in his own righteousness and virtue, and given the
abiding, restful trust in God. In this state all was doubly restored to him.

Deserve: Paul said to the Galatians:
"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he also will
reap. For he sowing to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh. But he sowing to
the Spirit will reap life everlasting from the Spirit. But we should not lose heart in
well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not faint. So then as we have


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                                                                The Bane of Bitterness


time, let us work good toward all, especially toward those of the household of faith"
(Galatians 6:7-10 MKJV).

The opposite is also true - whatever we do not sow, we do not reap. Why should
anyone receive pay or reward without earning it? Paul said that if any does not work,
he should not eat. This is a fact of life. Therefore, one would not receive evil if he or
she did not sow for it. The Law of God holds true both ways, if God is just and in
control.

The problem is that people do not believe or trust that God is in full control. Though
they profess faith in Christ and call Jesus "Lord," in their hearts they do not believe
that He is Lord, that He is, in other words, fully, actively, personally sovereign in all
affairs in universal existence.


They have more faith in "coincidences" and "accidents." Let me say this: There
are no such things as random or chance coincidences or accidents. As it is said,
"Accidents don't happen; they are caused." All things have a cause, and while we can
have causes of causes, the chain of cause and effect is not endless  the buck stops at
God, the First Cause of all things. That is because all started with Him:

"All things came into being through Him, and without Him not even one thing came
into being that has come into being" (John 1:3 MKJV).

"For all things were created in Him, the things in the heavens, and the things on the
earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or
powers, all things were created through Him and for Him" (Colossians 1:16 MKJV).



      He is Lord, not in title only, but is Lord indeed. He
                           runs the show.
All things continue, exist, are held together, and operate by Him:

"And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist" (Colossians 1:17 MKJV).

All things also end with Him:

"I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, says the Lord, Who is and
Who was and Who is to come, the Almighty" (Revelation 1:8 MKJV).

He is Lord, not in title only, like the Queen of England or the President of the United
States, or any other regal entity or governmental authority, who are very limited in


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                                                                 The Bane of Bitterness


what they can do. Jesus is Lord indeed. He runs the show. He calls all the shots. He
determines the destiny of a bird of least value:

"Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them shall fall on the
ground apart from the will of your Father" (Matthew 10:29 EMTV).

Going farther, He even determines the destiny of a hair:

"But even the hairs of your head are all numbered" (Matthew 10:30 EMTV).

Notice the hair fallen on your shoulder or on your sweater. Believe this: that hair got
there only by the predeterminate counsel and foreknowledge of God. There is not a
quirk or a quark that exists or operates without His full supervision and involvement.


So if these things are true, why are we bitter? We are bitter because things did
not go or are not going the way we would prefer them to go. We disagree with God.
But if God is in full control, working "all things according to the counsel of His own
will" (Ephesians 1:11), then surely there must be good reason why anything happens,
"good" or "bad," unless He is a fool or someone playing games at our expense. If it is
true that all things are with purpose, determined by a wise and perfect God, then we
must come to realize that all things are necessary:

"We, and all those that love God and are called according to His purpose, know that
He works all things together for good" (Romans 8:28).



     Giving thanks in everything, we confess Jesus Christ
                   is sovereign over all things.
Furthermore, if we can truly believe the Scriptures, which declare that God is love,
that is, His will is only one of good for all His creation, then how can we, in good
conscience, not accept all things from Him as ultimately good? That is why we are to
fulfill one of our prime responsibilities and activities as believers, that being:

"In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you"
(1 Thessalonians 5:18 MKJV).

Giving thanks in everything, both perceived good and evil, we confess that Jesus
Christ is Lord, that He is in full control, that He is sovereign over all things, and that
His Kingdom reigns supreme. Thanksgiving to God in all things is the quintessential
confession that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Did He not say to Pilate?:

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                                                              The Bane of Bitterness


"You could have no authority against Me unless it were given to you from above..."
(John 19:11 MKJV).

All things are determined from above  never from beneath.

When good comes, know that God has blessed. When evil comes, know that it also
comes from God. When suffering great and sudden loss, Job declared:

"I was born with nothing, and I will die with nothing. The LORD gave, and now He has
taken away. May His Name be praised!" (Job 1:21 GNB)

And when the evil came and Job's wife said to him, "Why don't you curse God and
die?" Job replied:

"You are talking nonsense! When God sends us something good, we welcome it. How
can we complain when He sends us trouble? Even in all this suffering Job said nothing
against God" (Job 2:10 GNB).



             His sovereignty is ever displayed in all of His
                                 creation.
Job recognized that it was not primarily "the devil that did it." He understood that
God was Ruler of Heaven and earth, of the unseen and the seen, the spiritual and the
physical. The first two chapters of Job make it very clear that he was right in this,
and that God is in the driver's seat.

God's sovereignty is described and displayed throughout the Scriptures by precepts,
statutes, testimonies, commandments, judgments, laws, prophecies, and confirmed,
historical records. His sovereignty is ever displayed in all of His creation.


Can bitterness then be justified? Obviously not. What then is the solution to
bitterness? There is only one. We must ask God to give us wisdom and understanding.
We must put our trust in Him to grant us to see things His way. We must yield to His
will, denying our preferences, desires, and ourselves. If we must hold bitterness, let
it be against holding bitterness.




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                                                              The Bane of Bitterness




              God rewards and punishes according to our
                          relationship to Him.
You may deny that you have done anything that even remotely relates to your
sufferings. There is another dimension to our suffering, as expressed in the Second
Commandment:

"Worship no god but Me. Do not make for yourselves images of anything in Heaven or
on earth or in the water under the earth. Do not bow down to any idol or worship it,
because I am the LORD your God and I tolerate no rivals. I bring punishment on those
who hate Me and on their descendants down to the third and fourth generation. But I
show My love to thousands of generations of those who love Me and obey My laws"
(Exodus 20:3-6 GNB).


God rewards and punishes in all things according to our relationship to Him. He
also carries those blessings and curses down the generations until the process is
complete. Know this: Not only do we descend from our ancestors, we are our
ancestors. You are your father and mother, and if they or their parents have
worshipped other gods contrary to the First and Second Commandments, then you
have worshipped other gods before you were born into this world and time. That is
why prophets and people confessed the "sins of their fathers":

"If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their
trespass which they trespassed against Me, and that also they have walked contrary
unto Me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into
the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they
then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember My covenant
with Jacob, and also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham will
I remember; and I will remember the land" (Leviticus 26:40-42 KJV).



      Bitterness may be the cause of evil circumstances.

Is there a link between the evils in your life and your ancestry? God knows, and only
He can show it to you. Break that link, by His grace, and you will find an eventual
removal of the curse that was brought on you by the sins of your ancestors; eventual,
I say, because all things must run their course, but He is just and merciful, and will
break that chain for your sake when you are fully repentant, even as He promised. I
know; He has done it for me, and I know He has done it for others, for those recorded
in Scriptures and others since. The testimonies in this matter are sure.


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