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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading
It's time to finish the series of blogs on bitterness... We've already looked at the first four keys to overcoming bitterness. Let's continue with the fifth key, which is forgive your offenders.
Before we get into that, let's do a quick review. Overcoming bitterness is possible in Christ and it is a vital part of "good work" which Yahweh is doing in each of us is removing every root of bitterness.
Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled."
Again, Yahshua gave us seven keys to conquering bitterness, which are contained in seven of His Commands. Exercising these keys (by His Grace) is wearing the Helmet and Breastplate effectively against becoming bitter.
So what are the seven keys to conquering bitterness? These keys (when appearing in the list) may seem strange and unrelated to overcoming bitterness, but as we look more deeply into them, we will see how living by these Commands of Messiah is effective against the soul-poison of bitterness:
Key #5: Forgive Your Offender
Forgiveness is a difficult and even scary concept. What about accountability? If we forgive someone for a betrayal or wrong, haven't we just opened ourselves up to be "hurt" again? Many people also worry that if they forgive someone, there is something unjust going on. But, forgiveness doesn’t remove the consequences, this is part of what takes place in pardon. What is the difference between forgiveness and pardon?
Forgiving someone doesn’t automatically imply pardon. Forgiveness involves having a godly and loving attitude toward our offenders. We desire what is best for them. Pardon, on the other hand, has to do with the consequences for a crime. To illustrate how these concepts are different, consider this illustration. If a man kills a member of your family, the Bible teaches that you must forgive him, but you cannot pardon him. He still (rightly) stands guilty before the law of the land. Pardon is the release from the legal penalties of the offense. Thus, our forgiveness toward our offenders does not involve lifting the consequences for the “crime.”
Also, forgiveness is not given because of merit. Forgiveness is given because Yahweh first forgave us for our offenses. Matthew 18:23-35 reminds of a parable about forgiveness and what happens if we fail to forgive our offenders.
Key #6: Await Messiah's Return with a focus on Eternity
This is our purifying hope. When Yahshua returns, we will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2-3). Waiting for Yahshua to return means that we are in a continual state of readiness. We will be able to give Yahshua a full account of all the things that we have done, whether good or bad (Matthew 12:36) by having confessed our offenses to Him and asked for His forgiveness. We also will have forgiven blessed and done good to those who have offended us.
“Temporal values” relate to bitterness. The very presence of bitterness proves that we have temporal values. Temporal values involve being more concerned over things that last for a time than things which last for eternity. “...We look (focus our attention) not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal,” 2 Corinthians 4:18.
Temporal values are really a form of idolatry (Colossians 3:5). And idolatry is, by spiritual definition, “Expecting benefits from people or possessions which only God can give.”
Temporal values cause us to react to people out of fear, greed, covetousness, or defense of our “rights.” Such reactions reveal unsurrendered areas of the heart. These are things we prayerfully want to lay aside, as they are spiritual weights on the soul (Hebrews 12:1).
The final area of overcoming bitterness deals with our attitudes and behaviors towards children.
Key #7: Despise not Children or be angry at them
Children... they're wonderful - and yet challenging - all in one adorable-at-times-aggravating package. There's no one who seems to know how to push a parent's buttons, than his/her children. We can be "perfect" Christians outside the home, but when the doors are closed and the curtains are drawn, we are tempted to turn into screaming banshees chasing around small minions.
If we fail to have God’s perspective on little children, we will tend to get angry or bitter when they misbehave. This is an offense with serious consequences. It would be better to have a millstone tied around our necks and to be drowned in the depths of the sea than to offend a little one (Matthew 18:6). What we do for a little one, we do for Yahshua (Matthew 18:1-5).
Scripture states: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children (sons and daughters) to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of Yahweh,” Ephesians 6:4.
And those are the amazing and life-changing keys that Yahweh has given for overcoming bitterness - permanently!
1 Increase Your Faith – to see the benefits from past hurts
2 Be a Servant of all – give all expectations to
3 Yahweh and embrace the character of a Servant
4 Deny yourself wrong desires and emotions of the soul
4 Love your neighbors – even when they wrong you – this conquers the source of bitterness
5 Forgive your offenders from the Heart
6 Await Christ’s Return by laying aside every weight and running in purity – view offenses from an eternal perspective
7 Despise not little ones – see your children through God’s Heart