I know this kind of bitterness well. I have tasted its poisonous toxins. How am I dealing with this level of bitterness? It is not easy. Some days I would just as soon not deal with it! Yet I know that if the bitterness is allowed to remain, no doubt it will spread.
It reminds me of the kudzu that you see all over the Southeast. I don't see it too much in Florida, but it was abundant in Alabama. As a child, I always thought this plant was pretty cool. In my childish eyes, it looked like a neat blanket lying on the land. (In the picture below, you will see what I am talking about.) But I can remember my dad saying, "You don't want that stuff to get on your land. It will take over." It was originally brought to the states as a gift from the Japanese back in 1876. The problem with kudzu is that the climate in the Southeast is perfect for it, and it grows too well. In the summer months it can grow a foot a day. It climbs trees, power poles, or anything else with which it comes in contact. If the conditions are good, it can grow up to sixty feet in a year. The vines are capable of destroying forest. They take over trees and prevent them from getting sunlight, ultimately leading to their destruction.
In much the same way, if I set up the right climate in my heart, the bitterness will grow and eventually take over. Once it takes over my heart, the Son's light can no longer get in. Then it is only a matter of time before it spreads to my children. I cannot let this happen. I refuse to allow conditions in my heart to create a climate that is conducive to the growth of bitterness.
So what is one to do? We ask Christ to come and take over our heart. If we focus on Him and abide in His love, bitterness will die. It is not easy, but it can be done. Have I dealt with and rid myself of all my bitterness? No. Do I struggle far less with it than I did a month ago? Absolutely. Every day Christ takes over a little more of it, and I know that eventually, the climate of my heart will be such that the bitterness will completely die.
John 15: 5-10 (The Message)
John 15: 5-10 (The Message)
"I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can't produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples. "I've loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you'll remain intimately at home in my love. That's what I've done—kept my Father's commands and made myself at home in his love."
The following song is one that really speaks to me. I want Christ to set up home in my heart, not bitterness. Please pray for me with this part of my unplanned journey. It is the most difficult part.