Summary: We must be careful not to allow anger to become a root of bitterness that will destroy our soul. Forgiveness for one another is a must.
Forgive God, Others and Yourself
By Pastor Jim May
If there would be one word that I could use to describe the attitude of many of the people that I meet every day, that word would be “bitter”. Every word that comes from their mouth is bitter. Anything that requires something of them draws out the bitter spirit that’s locked on the inside. The world is a bitter place, unless you know the Lord Jesus Christ who can transform that bitterness into sweetness.
Bitter people are angry all the time. They are angry with their spouse for not being the perfect mate that they thought they would be. They are angry with their children for a number of reasons; the inconvenience of raising them, the cost of raising them and the toll that their children take upon their parents emotionally and physically. They are angry with their boss because he or she forces them to be where they don’t want to be, and to do what they don’t really want to do. They are angry at life, because they can see it slipping by and they have begun to realize that many of the plans and dreams that they had will never become a reality. They are angry with anyone who gets in their way, limits them in any way, or who disagrees with them in any way. People are just bitter and angry, and it shows in their spirit and attitude. It doesn’t take much to trigger an explosion of anger!
The saddest part is that it is not only the worldly crowd who seems to be so bitter but that same bitterness pervades the church as well. Everywhere I go I meet angry Christians. They are angry with their brothers and sisters in the church and most of the time that anger stems from a misunderstanding.
I heard a story just this week about one such incident where someone became angry with another person because of a misunderstanding.
One lady went into the airport to catch a flight for a distant city. She was early for her flight and had plenty of time to spare so she went into one of the airport shops and purchased a book to read and a bag of cookies to munch on. Then she went out into the seating area by the gate to await the plane.
Two seats over a man was sitting and reading his newspaper. As she sat there she reached down on the seat between them and took out cookie and began to eat it. Then she saw the man reach down and take a cookie too. Her first thought was that this man was being a little strange. After all, he didn’t ask, he just took one. Oh well, it was only one cookie - no big deal.
As time went on and they continued to read, she noticed that time and again the man would reach down and take a cookie, and each time he did she became a little angrier at his inconsiderate ways. Oh the audacity; the unmitigated gall; the arrogance of that man to continue eating “my” cookies without even a thank you, and without asking for permission.
Finally there was only one cookie left. What would he do now? Would he be so bold as to take the last cookie? He reached down, picked up the cookie, looked her in the eye, and with a grin and a snap of his fingers, he broke the cookie in half and gave half to her. She was enraged and incensed at this behavior. How could he be so forward and selfish? It was all she could do to hold her tongue and not give him a piece of her mind!
At last the flight attendant called for her to board the plane. She was glad to be rid of this impetuous, ill-mannered and inconsiderate man once and for all, and as she boarded the plane she wouldn’t even give him the satisfaction of saying anything to him or even looking his way. She stared straight ahead and got on her plane and sat down.
As the plane was taxiing down the runway, she decided to reach into her bag to get her book out and finish it. That’s when she saw it – “her bag of cookies, in her bag, unopened.”
That’s when she realized that the man had kindly been sharing “his cookies” all along. She was the one with the gall to take what wasn’t hers without asking. She was the inconsiderate, ill mannered, and arrogant “cookie thief”. What must that kind man think of me!
I’ve seen some times similar to that when I would get angry over something that someone said or did that I knew wasn’t right, only to find out later that they were right and I was wrong.