Bitterness

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My friend, Paul, and I were at breakfast one morning and I couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong. We usually shared this ritual each month, but the dependable oatmeal carried a strange flavor. Upon further investigation, we found out that cumin, not cinnamon, was the culprit. A little bitter mattered a whole lot.

Hebrews 12:14-15 in the New Living Translation cautions the body of Christ to watch out for a poisonous root of bitterness, and a routine heart check turned up a little bitter.

I was mad at my old roommate and he hadn’t done anything wrong. I recently attended a men’s retreat with a few friends from church and I was convicted in my heart during a powerful service. You see, I had fallen into the trap of measuring my success against my old college roommate and the Lord convicted me of bitterness. I lost sight of the fact that the Lord has called me to my own journey, my own adventure, my own path. When I began to examine someone else’s career, I gave in to the temptation to allow jealousy and bitterness to creep in. No big deal, right?

Well, the more I read up on social media and saw what he was up to, the more and more unsettled I became. Some of us can relate to frustration from minor aggravation: the feeling of being mad about being mad. I’m a grown man. I’m a leader in my field, admired in my profession. I should have been secure in my calling, but I was bitter. Now I nipped it in the bud, and it didn’t become a poison tree, as William Blake wrote about in his poetry. God alerted me to the warning signs, and I was able to find peace through prayer and forgiveness. Lesson learned!

I want to encourage you today to trust in God’s plan for you. Some of us have been laboring in the field for multiple decades and are established professionals. Some of us are preparing to walk the stage, receive our diplomas, and enter our future. Wherever you are on your career path or ministry journey, I encourage you to be thankful for your unique talents and giftings.

Psalms 139:14 reminds us that we are each fearfully and wonderfully made. We don’t have to be bitter when others succeed, but rather we can rejoice with them. This time of year is when thousands of teachers across the country collectively exhale when their high-stakes tests are finished, and reflect on the closing of another school year.

I encourage you to take a minute and write down some of the successes the Lord has brought you through. He is faithful. His promises are true. He has mapped out a unique journey for each one of us, and we can rest in the sweet fact that all things work together for the good of those who love God.

Be blessed and be encouraged.

 

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