Summary: Bitterness destroys - don't get mad get even.
What’s in your wallet?
Last week we talked about fear and how fear is a gift from God that protects our lives. However, often we let fear take our lives away from us if we allow the natural tool to go wild and unanchored in Christ.
Today we are looking at another emotion. To be more exact, we are looking at a sub category of an emotion. The big picture is about anger. An just like with fear it is an emotion that is both a useful tool and perhaps is even easier to let get out of control. The Bible describes circumstances for righteous anger and unfortunately I doubt that most of the times we become angry we actually meet the criteria that would keep our anger from being a sin.
The actual topic for today is hardly mentioned in our scripture at all. However, I believe that when this emotion takes root in our heart everything we do and say is affected.
It was lunch time at the truck stop when three of the biggest meanest bikers that you would prefer never to see walked in. It was clear they were looking for trouble. They bumped and nudged people as they pushed by the short line of people waiting to be seated.
They walked straight over to a truck driver sitting alone at a table.
The first biker says “You’re sitting in MY seat!” Then he walks up to the trucker, and puts his cigarette into the truck driver’s pie. The second biker walks up to the trucker, and spits on his plate. The third biker walks up to the trucker, and pours out his coffee onto the table.
Without saying a word, the truck driver gets up and hands the cashier a 20 and leaves the building.
One of the of the bikers says to the waitress, "Humph, not much of a man, is he?"
Looking out the waitress replies, He’s not much of a truck driver either. He just backed his truck over three motorcycles in the parking lot!"
Today we are talking about post-traumatic embitterment disorder.
Well that is what it might be called by mental health professionals in the future.
You and I would use the word bitterness.
- Bitterness is an emotional response that is exhibited when people feel that they have been wronged.
-Bitterness is what anger becomes when it gets a little age on it. It is a seemingly natural mutation when anger goes unresolved for a time.
This complex enhancement on anger can happen to good people that work hard at something, a job, a relationship and anything the person feels is worthwhile and something unexpected happens.
They don’t get the promotion, the spouse wants a divorce, they fail to make the Olympic team, or don’t get elected president.
However it is not just the big traumas in life that can plant bitterness in a person. More often smaller situations and events can be the cause of bitterness in a person’s live.
Any event that causes anger in a person based on a feeling of injustice can cause bitterness to take over in the person’s life. Instead of dealing with the loss, attack or wrong the person feels like a victim and their response is anger, pessimism, aggression and haltered.
To leave the clinical sounding description, I might use a more common phrase,
“Don’t get mad, Get Even, as a description.
My sister broke or took my stuff so I broke or took her stuff.
Don’t get mad. Get Even!
When that guy comes up behind us with his high beams on, ridding our bumper. We slow down, let them pass and immediately turn on our brights and speed up to give some payback.
Don’t get mad. Get Even!
There’s an old story of two monks. The tradition of their order was that you never touch a woman. Not a handshake. Not a hug. Not a pat on the back. Nothing.
One day, they were traveling and they came up to a river that was swollen with rain. There were a few inches of water splashing across the top of the stone bridge. On the opposite side of a river, there was a tearful woman in a wedding dress. They crossed the bridge approaching the woman.
The monks said “What’s wrong child?”
She said “I’m getting married today. But the bridge is flooded, and the church is on the other side of the river. I don’t want to get my wedding dress wet.”
The monks had a dilemma. Finally, the first monk said, “I think God wants us to help.” So he picks her up, and carries her across the bridge so that her dress doesn’t get wet. He sets her down, and with tears in her eyes, she says “Thank you so much! I thank God that you were here!” And she gave him a big hug.