Monday, July 1, 2002
In the house where I grew up, we drank a lot of milk. In the house where my wife grew up, they tried to get her to drink a lot of milk. But there was one glass of milk she had when she was a little girl that sort of ruined milk for her from then on. It had this really bitter taste - and her parents, not knowing how it tasted, forced her to finish drinking it. Well, as Farm Girl explained it to City Boy here, their cows had apparently been eating something called bitterweed - which turns what they produce into something bitter. Just ask my wife.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Feeding On Bitterweed."
When cows feed on something bitter, they start producing something that's bitter. So do we. That's why God warns us in Hebrews 12:15, our word for today from the Word of God: "See to it that no one misses the grace of God." Now, that's a horrible thought. God's grace is something we cannot afford to miss. How does that happen? It goes on to say "...and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." Don't let any bitterweed - or bitter root - grow up in your heart. If you do, it will ruin the taste of many things in your life.
And bitterness grows when it's fed. When you allow yourself to feed on things that are bitter. And there is always plenty of bitterweed to feed on if you let yourself. You can focus on your frustrations (there are always plenty of those) ... on your failures or the failures of others. You can focus on how you've been hurt or how you've been mistreated. You can hang out with positive people or negative people. You can listen to and participate in conversations that tear people down or that build people up. You can store up resentment in this emotional savings account, constantly rehearsing the bad things that have happened - or you can count your blessings and concentrate on the positive things around you.
A bitter spot in your heart never stays the same size. It just keeps growing if you don't deal with it. And one problem with bitterness is that it really doesn't much hurt the person you're bitter against, but it eats you alive on the inside. You don't hold a grudge - a grudge holds you. Those spiritual toxins you've allowed to grow in your system can ruin some of the beautiful things in your life. Remember, bitterness "causes trouble and defiles many" - including people you live with, people you work with, and people you go to church with.
And it apparently limits what God can do in your life. Either the grace of God pushes out your bitterness or your bitterness pushes out the grace of God. Think about it. Do you find yourself turning harder, more critical, more caustic, more negative? Then consider what you've been feeding on. It could be you've allowed yourself to spend way too much time grazing on bitterweed.
If you need to forgive someone, forgive them. If there's something you need to let go, please let it go. Apologize if you need to apologize. Go talk to that person if you need to. Drop out of the gossip chain. Avoid those negative people. Do whatever it takes to attack the bitterweed in your heart, or it's just going to keep growing and you've got to stop before it grows any more before it makes everything taste bitter.