The Importance of Relating
Beating Bitterness – Part 1
Scripture Reading: James 3:13-16
Key Verse: Ephesians 4:31
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
It is no surprise that to relate to our relations in a healthy way we must beat bitterness. If bitterness gets the upper hand in our lives, we end up losers in relationships that we try to involve ourselves in. We need to understand what bitterness is so we can identify it when it creeps into our lives. Webster uses words like “animosity,” “cynicism” and “rancor”! Webster goes on to add that these negative feelings come with “intensity” when bitterness is setting in.
It is no wonder that throughout the New Testament the Bible instructs us to get rid of all bitterness. In James 3:14 we read, “But if you harbor bitter envy or selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.” Please note James’ last three words: deny the truth! If we are going to beat bitterness, we must fight the denial of its existence in our lives.
Our relations seem to hurt us more than anyone else does. As the old song says, “we hurt the ones we love.” When we are hurt we can go one of two ways. First, we could choose seeking reconciliation and forgiveness. Second, we can allow animosity, cynicism and rancor. Rancor especially can set us up for bitterness with its “deep seated ill will!” To beat bitterness we must deal with bitterness with God’s tools!
Father, open my mind and eyes to any bitterness that may be creeping into any of my relationships. I ask this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.