Winning Over Bitterness

This article is part 2 of 6 in the series Winning Over Bitterness

                              “Is Not Easy”                
   We begin our study by looking at what Paul says in Ephesians 4:27-32. “and do not give the devil a foothold. 28  Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. 29  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. 30  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” 
   Over the years, my life and teaching on this subject have changed. Recently we were looking through dad’s papers. My wife was helping, and she found an article of dad’s which really changed my thinking. 
   As we get into this series, there are three things I need to mention:
   1.) People and life are complex, and when problems come in the form of other people, whether strangers, friends or loved ones… then the answers just are not that simple. 
   2.) There is a real danger in being too simplistic, when dealing with other people’s problems, which I have not experienced. (I used to think that I had all the answers. Well, over time, I have learned I have more questions than I do answers.) The old adage “You don’t know how I feel!” is true in many cases ‘cause I don’t, so I won’t pretend to neither ‘know it all’ nor to ‘understand all the feelings’. However, I believe when Bible solutions are applied, that people can find the healing they are seeking.  
   3.) Paul and other writers, may seem to be ‘simplistic’ in their approach to dealing with people’s problems, but they are not. In the passages above, Paul issues warnings about certain things, and the God inspired corrective actions to take. (Who knows, maybe our solutions do not really need thousands of pages to be written, for us to find an answer. Maybe “our Father (really) knows best”!
   Paul gives us the reason why certain things, along with bitterness, are dangerous. He says, “And do not give the devil a foothold”.  A ‘foothold’, gives the mountain climber something to keep from falling, while moving up the mountain. A ‘foothold’ gives the soldier a place to stand and fight and move forward. To give the devil a foothold, means he has been given a place to BEGIN his work, a place which he has captured, and can operate from in order to ‘take the rest’ of the ‘heart and life’. No Christian should want this, and all should want to do everything in their power to avoid it.
   Winning over bitterness is not easy, but it is an attitude which if left alone, will certainly “kill” the Christian. The worldly may not care about it, may enjoy holding grudges and ‘getting even’, but the one who seeks to please Christ and be a ‘Christ-like-one’ is not going to be satisfied, till the ‘fire of bitterness’ is out(!) and the heart is healed.

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