Pastor Rick Jackson
Bitterness is a problem we all face. I have seen it in homes, schools, businesses, churches, relationships, etc. I have seen it towards people, government, church, leaders, followers, the military, etc. About 10 years ago a man turned against the President, the armed forces, the U.S. Government and me. I think he just got in the habit of being bitter and it grew and consumed his life. He had a legitimate gripe against a few individuals in the military but let it encompass more. He overlooked some faults of himself and others, he maximized the faults of certain individuals while minimizing the blessing these people had been in the past and grew more and more bitter. Unfortunately, bitterness is seldom self-contained.
I. THE RISE OF BITTERNESS
1. It is continuous (Heb. 12:15a)
2. It is contagious (Heb. 12:15b)
I have seen good people serving the Lord happily turn negative and quit serving God because they associated with bitter people. I have been tempted myself in this area and prefer to stay away from bitter people. Often this is hard because it may be a friend or relative or fellow church member who is slowly turning bitter before our eyes. Let us all beware the root of bitterness. It's trunk, branches, and fruit are not pleasant.
3. It is contemptuous (Heb. 12:16-17)
II. SOME OF THE ROOTS OF BITTERNESS
1. Dissatisfaction with God's plans (Is. 38:9-20, 39:5-8, Ez. 3:5-14)
2. Dissatisfaction with God's punishments (Lam. 1:1-5)
3. Dissatisfaction with God's person (Rm. 3:10-18, Ps. 2:1-3)
Bitterness is a hindrance to revival, to soul winning, to life in general.
III. SOME PROPER RESPONSES TO BITTERNESS
1. Prayer (I Sam. 1:10, Heb. 12:12)
2. Put it away (Heb. 12:13, Eph. 4:29-5:1)
3. Persevere in holiness (Heb. 12:14-16, Lam. 3:8-26)