Saturday, April 20, 2013

Blinded by Bitterness?

"Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no 'root of bitterness' springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled" Hebrews 12:14-15 ESV

Performance orientation in relationships leads to bitterness and our natural humanity is performance oriented. God commissioned Adam to perform.

"And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.' " Genesis 1:28 ESV

The problem is that Adam is broken and fallen and can't perform. God does not want to help Adam perform. He wants to weaken him further.

"He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days." - Psalms 102:23 KJV

If we stopped here we might all say, 'Hey, That's not good news.' No it's not. It's great news! There are things as a weak person that you learn that a strong person can never know.

Just as Adam needs to perform and can't... He also needs relationships. He needs parents to be a certain way that they can never be. He needs his children to be successful and to outlive him. He needs his leaders to be just and true. He needs his Church to represent God perfectly. These are not wants they are needs and when they are not met it has the same effect as not getting oxygen to the brain or depriving and person of food or dignity. Adam gets hurt and Adam gets bitter. Bitter Adam is unpleasant to be around and even dangerous to be around.

If we are bitter there are likely very good reasons that we are. Some one or something stole oxygen from our lungs! Just look at the mess they have made! We can cry out for blood and harbor it or we can come to grips with the fact that the event has exposed a pocket of performance orientation left in our soul.

Only grace orientation can replace performance orientation. Grace sees no need for people or God to perform in order to be accepted. Bitterness will kill us and defile others. Grace does not claim rights to hold unto wrongs. It does not assign names to pain. Grace and mercy flow in and heal all the effects of wrong.

A weak person will let that happen. A weak person is happy to start over. A weak person needs someone or something to lean on. God is that perfect someone. Any fruit produced must now come from abiding in the vine.

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV

What about justice? Where is the place for accountability?

"And he said to his disciples, 'Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.' " Luke 17:1-2 ESV

"For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience." Romans 13:3-5 ESV

God has given a place for Earthly authority to deal with the inhumanities the people inflict upon each other. He has also given guidelines for how those situations can be dealt with. Sin has been paid for but justice is still administered in the world at large.

Justice or no justice... Many will still get bitter and just keep on letting Adam defile everyone around them. Bitterness will entwine the doctrinal truth in their soul like a weed.

"And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Ephesians 4:30-32 KJV

"This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith" 1 Timothy 1:18-19 ESV

"From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above" - James 3:10-15a ESV

It is inevitable... people will fail. Will we have the mind of Christ or will we cry out for blood?

There is no condemnation. It may be that we find ourselves crying out first and it reveals to us the desperate need we have for God's mind and God's mercy.

"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus," Philippians 2:5 ESV

"And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." Luke 11:9 KJV

No comments:

Post a Comment