Summary: How do I overcome bitterness? •Understand that it destroys us •Adjust my expectations •Help others in who are in need •Appeal to God for help
Title: How Do I Overcome Bitterness from Suffering?
Text: Job 3.1-5.27
Series: Job: The Mystery of Suffering (Job)
Raymond Maurer, New Life Christian Church, Wixom, MI
www.NewLifeWithGod.com. E-mail me if you would like the Power Point Slides (Ray@NewLifeWithGod.com).
Kurt Cobain ended his life about 10 years ago (4/1994). filled with bitterness and anger. He was the founder and lead singer of the group "Nirvana." His violent suicide prompted a lot of questions. "Why? He had it all…a great career, dedicated fans, plenty of money, a beautiful wife and a 19 month old daughter…So why did he kill himself?"
To many it made no sense. But Kurt Cobain simply lived out his beliefs to their logical conclusion. He was a professed humanist and nihilist. He believed that there was no God and there was no meaning or purpose to life. He was the center of his own universe, and he was bitter so why stick around. His poetry (music) clearly showed what he believed. Kurt Cobain pioneered grunge rock, which has given us the alternative rock of today. This music is opposed to anything mainstream.
Cobain was very vocal about his bitterness from being a child of divorce and moved from house to house and eventually without a home. He felt that life was rotten and meaningless and his music often spoke of his anger and disillusionment. One of his songs was called "Nevermind." Its recurring line was "Oh well, whatever, nevermind." Another song that he wrote was never released because it was too objectionable. It was called, "I Hate Myself, And I Want To Die." That’s bitterness.
Friends of Cobain say he often acted without reason. He was constantly on an emotional roller coaster. But his dips into despair got deeper and deeper. Once, a member of his road crew asked him why he was moping around so much.
Cobain replied, "I’m awake, aren’t I?"
Cobain had no idea he was in the midst of a spiritual battle. He believed the lies of Satan: nihilism. He had passion, but for nothing. He had a void in his heart that nothing he pursued could fill, and he believed that nothing could or ever would.
He had no purpose, no meaning, so he played it out to its logical conclusion, death (Edited from Scott Weber, Sermon Central).
Today we’re going to look at another man in the midst of bitterness. But Job somehow found meaning and purpose in his bitter suffering. Job’s poems were quite different. Although he expressed his bitterness, especially in today’s text, he also held out for hope in the Lord. Later in the poem he says, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God” (Job 19.25-26, NIV).
There’s an old saying that says “trails make you bitter or better.” When they make you bitter you continue to suffer and others continue to suffer. When they make you better, you’re equipped to help others when they suffer. You find purpose in everything God allows to happen.
Thus far in the book of Job we’re seen that God is all-powerful. Satan can only cause suffering that God allows. We tacked a few questions:
• Can I prevent suffering? No, even the righteous suffer.
• How should I respond to suffering? Expect it. Be honest about the pain and live by faith and God’s power.
Worship while you mourn. Thank God for what He’s given. Maintain your integrity and surround yourself with supportive friends.
Throughout this series we’re seeing that there is always a Mystery to Suffering. We want answers. God makes it clear that Job wasn’t meant to understand all of the mysteries of suffering. The book of Job won’t answer all of our questions, but the lessons from Job’s suffering, and the attempts of his friends to comfort him, help us answer some of our own questions.
Today we’re going to answer the question: How do I overcome bitterness?
1. UNDERSTAND THAT BITTERNESS DESTROYS US
We don’t have to look at Job’s bitterness for very long to see how utterly destructive bitterness is. After seven days and seven nights of silence, Job finally speaks in chapter 3.
This begins a long poem. It’s a 40 chapter poem with Job responding to each of his three friends. Then, just when you think his friends are running out of ideas, a fourth friend lifts us up with some better advice. Then the Lord of the universe dramatically speaks at the end of the poem. Yet some things still remain a mystery.
We’ve covered a chapter a week for the past two weeks. We’re going to pick up the pace a little in the coming weeks, sifting out some redeemable principles from Job’s friends. It’s important to realize that not everything recorded in Scripture is true. It’s accurately recorded, but much of his friends’ advice is later proven to be false when the Lord speaks.