The poison of bitterness -Friday, January 23

January 23, 2015

Proverbs 14:10—The heart knows its own bitterness, and a stranger does not share its joy.

Confederate General William Henry Chase Whiting roiled with jealousy of General Robert E. Lee. Whiting spread rumors about the South’s commanding general, and those who knew the two men suspected the day would come when Lee would strike back.  The day came when Confederacy President Jefferson Davis asked Lee his opinion of Whiting. “I think he is one of the most able men in the entire army,” Lee is reported as saying. Others later asked Lee why he didn’t criticize Whiting. “It was my impression that the President wanted my opinion of General Whiting, not Whiting’s opinion of me.”  Bitterness is a poisonous root, says Hebrews 12:15, and when it sprouts, it defiles all it touches. The soil where the bitterness root grows is the human heart. Robert E. Lee could have watered the root of bitterness by focusing on Whiting’s accusations and slanders. Instead, he chose to snatch it out, refusing to let it grow in his heart.  When we contemplate and commiserate in our emotional and mental heart the wrongs done us and the gossip spread about us, we cultivate the root of bitterness. However when we bless those who curse us, as Jesus said, the poisonous root is plucked out.  The heart of bitterness cannot be healthy, but the person who uproots the animosity experiences the vitality of God’s joy.

SPIRITUAL HEART FOCUS
When your heart wants to dwell on past hurts and wrongs committed against you, thank God that He will use even those for His purposes in and through you, and pray God’s blessings on people who hurt you.

PHYSICAL HEART FOCUS
Don’t allow the complexities of daily life divert you from taking care for your heart.