I went to a new church today after a almost a year of taking a break from the church I’d belonged to. The break had been necessitated by my becoming involved with said church’s activities. I had joined up with the youth and music ministries in good faith, thinking that I could really help and make a difference, but ended up three years later, angry and embittered because of being ignored despite the fact that the current methods being employed helped absolutely no one.
The experiences brought along by my involvement exhausted me emotionally and spiritually to the point where I withdrew from church entirely. I didn’t feel like being friendly and civil to anyone in church. I didn’t feel like doing anything for anyone, since no one there appreciated it anyway. No. Correction. No one even wanted me to do it.
So I shook the proverbial dust from my ankles and walked away.
But the damage had been done. Because although I didn’t know at the time, the experience did much more than just tire me out. It planted a seed of bitterness. Or maybe poured water and fertilizer onto it so that the bitterness could once again take root in my life and infect every aspect of it. The big thing is, though, that I'd allowed this to happen. In fact, I didn't even see it happen.
The only reason why I do now is that I went to the new church and spoke to the pastor there. He told me that once there’s bitterness in my heart, it’ll deliver fruit according to the tree that’s there. So anger, resentment, impatience, frustration with my life and so on will all be there. They’re bringing my life to a standstill. Which actually makes things even worse. Because nothing adds to my frustration, impatience etc like not moving forward in my life.
It stops now. I’m going to address this bitterness with prayer. I’ve forgiven the people who’ve embittered me, but I know I’ll need to do it again and again and again. For as long and as often as it needs to be done until this anger and resentment I have is rooted out of my heart and get replaced by something healing.
I know it won’t be easy, because it’s been a fall back position to me for so long. But I have to start. And by the grace of God, I know I’ll succeed with His help.
Do you have bitterness rooted in your heart? Do you want to get rid of it?