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Wife, Mother, Pastor

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BITTERNESS PART 1- Those bitter with us

Funny how we will not show our true feelings towards others directly to their face, yet will air out our grievances over social media.  This happened to me to day. A picture that had been posted years ago suddenly surfaced from the archives.  As comments were posted someone who was tagged in that picture joined the conversation. She made a snide/sarcastic remark that showed her true 9 year old feelings of bitterness, and in the process, hurt mine.  My heart sank as tears filled my eyes.  My stomach became knots as I had no idea she had these feelings inside for so long and decided to share with the world in an inappropriate manner. At this point I had some choices,

A) Ignore it.

B) Expose her ugly bitterness and defend myself.

C) Give a good throat punch (this one is my personal favorite, but whatever), OR

D) Humble myself and apologize.

As I thought about which choice to make, I remembered all the times I have thought about the subjects people get flared up about.  You know, the topics that have nothing to do with our salvation like, nursing, organic food, Coke verses Pepsi (Coke), that people freak out over?  I look at those topics and I think, “People are dying and going to hell every day, and we’re going to fight over this?”  I had to do the same with this person’s bitterness.  I thought, “As hurt as I am, it’s not worth it.  I’m not going to fight over something so insignificant.  Save the fighting for the lost.”  I chose, ‘D’. I’d like to say it was with a humble attitude without tears, but my eyes were full as I drudgedly typed my apology.  I told her I was sorry and moved on. Her response was more bitterness and sarcasm, to which I chose letter ‘A’ and ignored.  Was that right or wrong? I don’t know.

Then I prayed.  Oh, did I need to pray! I asked forgiveness of anytime I had hurt her.  I also had to forgive her for her bitterness, and then ask for God’s forgiveness for my hurt.

Fortunately, she has moved and I do not see her on a regular basis at church.  But I wondered how I would react if I did see her every Sunday morning.  How would I handle it?  Avoidance of eye contact?  Dart into the bathroom as she walked by?  Then I thought about all the people who have not cared for me and my decisions since I started working for the church.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE:

I went to my bible (which of course took about two hours between dealing with my kids on this arctic Michigan snow day).  Paul gave me some good reminders in Ephesians chapter 4.  In this chapter he gives us some practical advice on how to live as His Children being ‘salt and light.’  However, I feel as women in ministry, this advice is good for us who are serving as leaders:

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

How should we handle those who are bitter with us?

  • Not letting any unwholesome talk out of our mouths.  Go ahead and groan; I just did.  My philosophy for myself is, “When in doubt, shut my mouth.”  As much as I want to run to the nearest woman in ministry to spill my guts about the people in church that have issues with me, so I can defend myself, I’m learning that unless I’m building them up then I need to take it to the Lord.

 

  • Do not grieve the Holy Spirit in what he is leading us to do.  One of the hardest things, I have found, is to be obedient to the Holy Spirit when He is leading me to love or talk to people who don’t really like me.  But my disobedience grieves Him and only hinders His work in me.

 

  • Get rid of whatever bitterness you have. This takes time because other people’s bitterness breeds it in us.  I become a second grader and think to myself, “Oh, you hate me, well I hate you too,” and imagine myself sticking out my tongue behind their back.  I have to bring the situation before God on a regular basis, forgiving and asking for forgiveness.  It doesn’t always go away with one prayer, it takes many.

 

  • Be compassionate.  Awesome.  My worst trait. This is something I have to pray about A LOT as compassion does not come to me naturally.  Proverbs tells us that if your enemy is hungry, to give him food.  Is he thirsty?  Give him a drink.  This will heap burning coals on his head and God will reward us. (25:21-22)

 

PRAY WITH ME SISTERS:

“Lord, it’s a well known fact that we will not please everyone, our main goal is to please you. Please help us to be Jesus pleasers and not man pleasers.   I pray for those who are bitter and angry with us to come to a place of forgiveness.  Not for our sake, but for theirs.  Soften their hearts as well as ours.  Provide opportunities to for us to pour ‘hot coals on their laps’.  In this I pray that we will become more like You in the process. Thank you for your forgiveness toward us.  Amen.”

 

Love you ladies!

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Comments (2)

  1. Emily

    This post was perfectly timed for me to read today. I am learning the same lesson and it is one that requires a lot of discipline! My word for this year is “FIRST” as in “Seek first His kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” When someone says something hurtful to or about my family, I fill God’s ear FIRST before filling another’s ear. And when I do, God always tells me He is enough and he will handle it…

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