Friday, February 18, 2011

The Seed of Bitterness

In Ephesians 4:31, we are told to "put away" resentment. The idea is to "take-up" or to "remove" something. This involves total abandonment. We are not just to keep our resentment toward those who may have hurt us under control - we are to put it away - abandon it. And this is written in the imperative mood making it a command rather than an option. In other words, to be in the will of God you must "put away" all resentment in your life that you have toward others.

Paul then gives us 6 levels of resentment. These are like building blocks. If you don't "put it away" at level one - it moves to level two. If you don't "put it away" at level two - it moves to level three (and so on). The first three levels are all inward. In other words, it is possible to get all the way to level #3 and keep it all inside of you. But the last 3 levels are outward. You can't get to levels 4, 5 and 6 without others seeing it in your life.

Level #1 is BITTERNESS. This describes a smoldering resentment or a grudgeful attitude. It can be very small. Hebrews 12:14-15 calls it a "seed of bitterness". Sometimes you don't even know that a seed is even there. This is that little feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you see or hear about a certain individual. It's easy to just brush it off as no big deal. But one thing we do know about seeds are that they grow and some of them can grow very big. We learn in Acts 8:21-23 that bitterness may start as a seed but it can grow into a deep, inner agony in your life and the lives of those around you.

Bitterness is just level #1 in the 6 levels of resentment that we are to "put away". We'll see the remaining levels in my next posting.

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