Sunday, October 14, 2007


Hebrews 12:15 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;

James 3:14-15 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

Bitterness is an ugly sin, and it grow out of resentment and unforgiveness on our part. Often the root cause of it is due to being hurt in the past. I know of a friend who is bitter because of being ill-treated while serving in the army, then he become bitter to the university because of his failures in the school examination. Now he continues to be bitter and is evident in his conversation everytime he mention about God or the army or the university.

I struggle with bitterness because another group in my church is doing better in their ministry than the ministry I am involved in. Why do I feel bitter? I think it is because their better performance make me feel inferior, and I think I dislike a church elder and another deacon who feel they are superior to me and critique me because their ministry is growing, I was hurt by it. The ministry I was involved in is struggling and we need support and encourgement, not someone to critique and find fault with my ministry.

So I think God knows bitterness will come that is why God inspired the two verses above. Bitterness defiles us, it make us unpleasant people and cause us to focus on ourselve rather than on God, prolonged bitterness lead to anger.

What is the remedy for bitterness?

The same verse says we should look diligently that we may not fail from God's grace. Meaning we should be very careful, very vigilant to guard ourselves from loosing focus on God's grace, being diligent means we nip it in the bud and don't allow our mind to dwell on bitterness.

Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

We are saved by God's grace, and this grace continues to abound in us, helping us to forgive others and surrender our hurt and bitterness to God. We grieve the Holy Spirit and reject grace each time we give in to bitterness. When we resist grace and continue in bitterness, we are like someone kicking against the pricks:

Acts 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

What is the meaning "kick against the pricks" ? read Barnes commentary on this:

The word translated "pricks" here--kentra--means, properly, any sharp point which will pierce or perforate, as the sting of a bee, etc. But it commonly means an ox-goad, a sharp piece of iron stuck into the end of a stick, with which the ox is urged on. These goads, among the Hebrews, were made very large. Thus Shamgar slew six hundred men with one of them, Jg 3:31: Comp. 1Sa 13:21. The expression, "to kick against the prick," or the goad, is derived from the action of a stubborn and unyielding ox, kicking against the goad. And as the ox would injure no one by it but himself--as he would gain nothing--it comes to denote an obstinate and refractory disposition and course of conduct, opposing motives to good conduct; resisting the authority of Him who has a right to command; and opposing the leadings of Providence, to the injury of him who makes the resistance.

So when we are bitter, we are like a stubborn ox kicking against a piece of sharp iron, it only hurt ourselves.

Resolve in our heart to pursue peace and grace and holiness, seek reconciliation with those who have hurt us, even if they don't reconcile with us, we should pray for blessing on those who have hurt us.

We can overcome bitterness because Philippians 4:13 says I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

When we overcome bitterness, the reward is the joy of fellowship with our Lord Jesus.

1 comment:

  1. I never heard this way of thinking about bitterness, the Acts 5:9 verse about the prick was helpful. I have struggled with bitterness and have now really come to understand how God views it and I have changed my mind. I do now pray blessings on those who have hurt me. Thank you for this insight.