Indicators of Hidden Bitternessby Cynthia Jennings on February 24, 2021
Have you ever been in a situation where someone really hurt your feelings and you got all bent out of shape about it? Well, I have been in that situation. And those around me knew I wasn’t happy. I tried everything I thought possible to cover how I felt. I quoted scriptures, rebuked Satan, I tried to boss my feelings around and took a nap, but none of these things soothed me.
Then something sent me over the edge….a rotting smell! The smell was outside but the vividly pungent aroma was making me sick to my stomach. The windows were open because it was a beautiful day outside and I wanted fresh air in the house. So, I dared not close the windows.
I didn’t know the source of the rotting smell. But in the midst of me internally gripping about my “hurt feelings” The Holy Spirit loudly said, “that rotting smell is your current attitude!”
That unidentifiable outside rotting smell was an outside indication of an internal situation. My attitude!
The reason I wasn’t able to be soothed by quoting scripture, bossing my feelings, rebuking Satan or taking a nap is because God wanted me to be aware of my stink. Something inside of me that stunk and was taking root for a rotting heart.
I’d been hurt and didn’t want to forgive because “I felt” justified in my feelings. I had stuffed bitterness in my heart and tried to pretend it wasn’t there. But the rot in my heart was there and the stink kept spilling out.
God didn’t want me to temporarily mask the situation by just feeling better in the moment. He wanted me to address the root of my rot. Thus, I needed to see it, admit it, expose it and allow Him to clean it up.
In Psalm 139 King David talks about the everlasting presence and power of God. But specifically Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” This is a reminder of King David’s plea to The Lord. We must have this same attitude when it comes to our own lives.
How we react is a crucial gauge of what’s going on inside. A small amount of rot can spread extremely fast. We all know what happens if we don’t find the source of what’s rotten….a stench that will not go away….until the root cause is discovered!
It’s important to pay attention to our reactions and look for indicator of hidden bitterness.
Signs of the root of rot:
*you say statements like “you always…you never…why can’t we ever?”
*you gather ammunition from past situations to build your case
*your tone and words are harsh
*you make passive-aggressive statements to prove your point (ex…” fine whatever” no, I’m not mad)
*you demand an apology when it’s you who should be apologizing
*you snap on others who have noting to do with your rottenness
It’s not pretty to admit you have these indicators. But, the beauty of the situation. The quicker the root is acknowledged the quicker we can invite God in for help and healing to get rid of the stench of the rot.
PEARLStoPONDER: It’s time to dig up the root. Ask the Lord to point out harmful attitudes in our hearts today so that the root of rot doesn’t turn into a permanent stench.
Psalm 51:1-17-- Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Ephesians 4:31-32-- 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.