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The Poison of the Soul

April 20, 2010

I can think of few things so devastating in a life and a church as bitterness.  The medical community has long known the high cost of bitterness. The refusal to forgive past hurts has been conclusively proven to cause high blood pressure, heart disease, ulcers, hair loss and is suspected to be a major contributor in many other diseases. Bitterness is a cancer hiding under the healthy looking facade of far too many believers.  Hebrews 12:15 says, “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.”  Bitterness in an individual soils many people.  Very obviously it separates you from the person you are not willing to forgive.  Frequently this bitterness also leads you to stop associating with people that associate with the one you don’t forgive.  The tension in you caused by this bitterness creates tension in your relationships with friends and family members, so that your fellowship is drawn apart and no longer as close as it should be.  When you refuse to forgive someone you separate yourselves from them, from other and from God. God commands us to let all bitterness be put away from us.  When we refuse to forgive, we erect a barrier of sin that hinders our relationship with God.  Bitterness does great damage to all our relationships and it spreads from us to cause great damage in the church.  When you refuse to forgive it quickly takes root, which will spread and infect others you come into contact with.  A bitter person spreads their vile disease around them.  Many people refuse to attend church because they or a child is not feeling well, they don’t want to pass the sickness on to others. Yet, they have no problems coming to church filled with bitterness and passing around their poisonous spirit.  I am not suggesting that those of you who are bitter stay home from church.  I want you to rip out that root of bitterness and live in the forgiveness that God has extended to you and all men.  In Ephesians 4:31 Paul instructs these transformed believers to let all bitterness be put away from their lives.  In Proverbs 4:23 we are instructed, “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.”  What do you think will issue from a bitter heart?  What do you think will happen in your life if you refuse to forgive as Christ has forgiven you?  In Christ’s parable on forgiveness in Matthew 18, he likens the lack of forgiveness to ongoing torture.  This thing is a horrid evil that will poison your soul, decimate your relationships, hinder your walk with God, infect the church and cause great destruction to your physical and spiritual well being.  Let bitterness be put away from you.  Don’t cling to those hurts and offenses from the past.  Put them aside, allowing God’s forgiveness to work in you to such a degree so that you express a similar forgiveness to others.

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