“When I became embittered and my innermost being was wounded, I was a fool and didn’t understand; I was like an unthinking animal toward You.” (Psalm 73:21-22)
One of Satan’s tactics to stymie our growth is to use our human nature to create heaven-centered bitterness. To be angry with our fellow man is spiritually debilitating, but to be angry with God is pointless and self-defeating. It demonstrates both ignorance and immaturity. The Psalmist likens this foolish attitude to having the limited understanding of an animal.
The Psalmist Asaph’s own bitterness stemmed directly from his personal jealousy. He clearly desired the ease and wealth of others. For us, his testimony is an example of transparent honesty. He said, “But as for me, my feet almost slipped; my steps nearly went astray. For I envied the arrogant; I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have an easy time until they die.” (Psalm 73:2-4)
Instead of blaming Satan, the unthinking multitude usually asks God to either curse or damn something or someone else for their unhappiness. They sinfully use God’s holy name or the name of our loving Savior to do this! Pause to consider where cursing actually comes from and why. Is it not usually from misplaced blame toward God that causes illogical bitterness?
If you choose to invest your life as Christ’s faithful witness, you will soon discover that many around you are infected with the captivating disease of materialism (see Mark 8:36). This spiritual sickness is a primary reason for much of mankind’s covetousness and discontentment. The Bible therefore warns “Be not conformed to the world…” (Romans 12:2)
Concerning his personal life and misplaced values, the Psalmist wrote, “When I tried to understand all this, it seemed hopeless until I entered God’s sanctuary. Then I understood…” (Psalm 73:16-17a) James explains, “…each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.” (James 1:14-15)
Bitterness toward God because of misplaced resentment or even unfulfilled yearnings becomes dangerous. Unless this painful condition is confessed and honestly dealt with, it can eventually create eternal separation from God or the absence of future rewards! The sin of bitterness is like a cancer that metastasizes and spreads unless it is removed.
Remember that God has given us His Word which is “…sharper than any two-edged sword…” (Hebrews 4:12) It was given to us for the very purpose of maintaining our spiritual well-being. Spiritual healing is accomplished through personal confession. Then, with God’s enabling, comes the responsibility of recognizing and treating one’s own spiritually malignant condition. Don’t be timid about identifying bitterness and trusting God to empower you to move it.
As a Christian disciple, you are the great Physician’s assistant. A non-bitter heart, positive attitude, and sincere faith are all necessary if you want to serve in Jesus’ name. When you stop reading, pray to remain usable because your service is greatly needed!
By Billie Hanks Jr.