- John Piper: “How to Battle Bitterness“
- Anne Peterson: “How to Deal with Bitterness and Resentment“
- Jen Wilkin: “Four Ways to Battle Bitterness“
It is easy to think of big issues when we talk about Christian morality. But here is one that one of our pastors mentioned in a sermon this last week that really stuck with me: “Am I someone that is easily offended?”
Offense can take root and leak poison into your entire heart and life. It is TOO STRONG to keep locked away in a compartment. You cannot do it; nobody can. It cannot be restrained for long. It cannot be “compartmentalized.”
If this is you, then the offense must be brought to Jesus in prayer and most likely talked through with someone that you trust. Allow the Lord to speak into this broken, out-of-line area in your life. Bitterness and offense is a great thief and can absolutely prevent us from fulfilling our purposes in Christ. A bitter root can keep someone from wanting to serve in their local church, make a phone call to someone in need, read the Bible, share their money, pray, worship, etc.
A bitter heart will result in a disobedient life.
What we need as followers of Christ is tough skin and a tender heart. This a remarkable combination, and results in a person that can take hits but remain “rooted and grounded in love” (Ephesians 3:17 NRSV).
Besides, if you are always being offended, then there is a good chance that you are focusing too much on yourself or thinking too highly of yourself (Pastor Allen Hickman use to always say this).
Now, don’t read this last comment as me saying that there are not real offenses. Oh my, there definitely are, ones that hit at our core and hurt everso deeply. Let’s face it: people can be so disappointing at times. But what if we allow these moments to bring us to the cross so that we can admit what we should be admitting with every breathe: our utter helplessness in dealing with anything. The bottom line is that we need the Lord to perform any good act with the right heart.
Allow the Lord to come, love on you, remind you of his forgiveness toward you, and then help you take the same step he takes. After all, Jesus commands us to pray like this: “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12 NRSV).