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Help! I’m Living with a Bitter Person

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
December 7, 2021 9:00 pm

Help! I’m Living with a Bitter Person

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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December 7, 2021 9:00 pm

Living with a bitter person can feel exhausting, defeating. How can you love them without losing your happiness...or sanity? Author Stephen Viars weighs in.

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Okay one of my big theme ideas and 30 years of preaching that some to do a bitterness so yeah let's see if you even know does the wife of the pastor listen to the pastor's sermon, though. Welcome to family life today where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most in our day will soon and you can find or on our family life. This is family life today. One of my big theme ideas and 30 years of preaching to the beginning of the word pain.

You can start with pain, you better or better yet, so my gut is usually trials are a defense with the theme is that we both neo-valleys, but really pain trials. You have a choice. It can be part of your life one way or another pain and trials will be a part of God allow God to use it and you become better or you become bitter and whatever I preach on that and done it many times over the years. You toss the audience. Do you know more bitter people you know more better people. Guess with the answer always is more bitter people that don't handle bitterness well and it could be the exact same trial in one person you like.

How were they better how this person with through the same thing and you don't want to be near them in their mad at their spouse amount of their life there mad at God and so bitterness is a part of all of our lives against the bars back with us today were a book called overcoming bitterness and reverse. It was overcome bitterness and actually get from her to a life filled with joy, stealing, welcome back Debbie here. It's really been a privilege talking with you finding your insights on this topic. I mean they're life-changing in it. It isn't like all the sum some people deal with. We all I told you before when I was reading a book of my go my goodness, I thought it was done better because of my life and it rose up like others triggers that still come to overcome it. So we had to keep talking about how do we get to one of things I love about your book and loved by you as a pastor in Indiana for church right at the Lafayette Indiana and you're married with three kids and four grandkids so you know life and carried all that as well but your biblical I think scow love the way you use the word of God, to say the answers are here. Let's walk through so I can refund today to walk through the story in Scripture that gives us a model of how to we overcome bitterness and you know I think the word of God is so rich and so filled with hope and that you love the fact that one of the names that God chooses for himself on the word of God is the God of hope, yes, and so any of us who are struggling with bitterness a little or a lot today. We don't have to be hopeless people, and that's why because we have a powerful Savior. We have a God of hope and and I really appreciate it when you were talking to Dave about your preaching ministry and how you would say the trials can either make you better. They can make you better, that's rich theology right there because the world in which we live many times gives the suggestion that all you are a product of your circumstances and you have very little choice in the matter.

So you you're a passive victim of what other people have done to you and because if you face to certain hardships in your life you have to be a bitter individual.

Steve Allen had to have seen a lot of people walk away from their faith because there mad got there bitter guy is absolutely the more we understand the biblical anthropology or biblical view of man were not dogs. We were made in the image of God, what were not animals, so life is not determinative. So were not passive victims were active worshipers and the way we choose to respond to the difficulties of our life that reveals the identity of our functional God do are we were really willing to trust in Jesus Christ. Are we trusting in his resources and his sovereignty even when it's hard. And so it is true it's true from cover to cover in the word of God that it is possible to handle difficulties in a way that results in you becoming something other than bitter at what hope is there in all of that and so it one of the stories is the story of Naomi in the book of Ruth and I love the fact that God is a storyteller and we all love a story we all love great stories and a significant percentage of our Bibles is filled with narratives and stories which tells you are God loves us and he wants us to understand that not a just a simple principal format.

He wants us to taste what they tasted. He wants us to feel what they felt lewdly to smell he wants us to believe that Sony only story. It starts in very hard place because she and her husband and their two sons are facing a famine and they lived in Bethlehem, which in Hebrew means house of bread.

So, what an incredible metaphor there that there was a famine in Bethlehem so their family decides to go to Moab. There's no commentary in the book of Ruth about whether that was a good decision on the part of the husband or a bad decision.

They just went to the country of Moab, and then the sons marry Moabitess women there again. No commentary about was that a good thing or a bad thing but that's what happened. And then the Scripture says in his coming in rapidfire succession because all this happens in chapter 1 that both Naomi's husband and both of her sons died and you. I realize that I might be talking this one of your listeners today and they know the pain of so not just telling us without thinking I'm on loudly bring up all sorts of myrrh and memories for so many who have experienced death and all sorts of ways. And so now you have Naomi say as a woman to lose both of your children and your husband you are left desolate like this would be the lowest of lows that a person could be well and especially in the culture exactly because you talk about being vulnerable. You talk about being in a position of of danger that was it. In that culture.

For sure, and what's interesting is Naomi. She was the Jewish woman so she was the one of those who were left that should have been leading her daughters-in-law to some degree of faith. If anybody was going to be the godly person you would've thought it was gonna be Naomi, which was the point, because regrettably what Naomi did. She says to her daughters-in-law go back to your people and then eventually chapter 1 of my most important phrases in the chapter and to your God's she was saying as a Jewish woman.

God has let me down. In fact, she eventually says that I left Bethlehem full and God's brought me back empty Jehovah, the God of Israel has let me down while interestingly one of the daughters-in-law. She went back to her people and to her gods to the idols of Moab. But what is absolutely stunning and filled with hope is the remaining daughter-in-law Ruth says no and she makes a statement next that sometimes is used in weddings and I have to point out to the young couple. Do you realize the spouse died here is really appropriate. It is a beautiful statement were Russo know I'm in a stay by your side, your people are going to be my people and your God is going to be my God, so she saw something in her father-in-law. She saw something in her husband, or maybe even her brother-in-law that appeal. Or maybe the in the Naomi we don't know but something gripped young Ruth where she said the God of heaven is the only God worthy of my trust and even if that means I'm going to leave my people at at my place. That's my God, and that goes back to what we're saying were not passive victims were active worshipers and that was an act of incredible worship on the part of this young Moabitess woman, how do you do that, because you know the earlier you're talking about the phrase your group we got is let me down. I think we've all felt that at some point. It's a universal. Then again, I can't say hundred percent but most of us at some point of felt that women often we never said it, were married to say that you're right but it's like God, let me down. I really thought, and yet Ruth is like that. God often worship yeah Ruth didn't have access to the level of truth that you and I to we have the cross we have the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

Listen a God who would send his only son doesn't let me down. You asked how I think the more I fill my life with the gospel. The more I fill my life with the shed blood of Christ and his amazing grace, the less likely I'm going to be to let a particular trial on a particular day, even if it might be big caused me to change my view of who this God is the only thing he ever did for me was the cross. That's far more than I deserve, and the older I get and the more I understand, just my inherent sinfulness. Jesus is the one that I want to worship. For sure I want to be more like Ruth, I want to have that kind of faith and so Naomi says listen a must go back to Bethlehem. So now it's Naomi the Jewish mother-in-law and her Moabitess daughter-in-law and they go back to Bathurst on chapter 1 and what's fascinating is what happens next because as they walk into town. Some of the women who would've known Naomi before they said hey aren't you Naomi you have to ask yourself why wouldn't they have recognized or here's what I believe is a just conjecture only. I believe bitterness changes the way you look fine. I think you can look at certain people over time. That's a bitter person and there's no question because of what happens next. Naomi says don't call me Naomi, call me tomorrow. In other words, the single word that defines my life the most is the word bitterness become her identity, absolutely. It's become her identity and then she says because God took me out of this country full and he brought me back empty and we were talking about Esau in a previous program about help. Bitterness will make a liar out of you. Just think about what she said God took me hopeful. It was a fan and then think about the other half he brought me back empty whose right by her is exactly what I wish I that's one of those 20 at the heaven. I want to have that conversation and I want to know what Ruth was thinking at them, but she was so engulfed in her bitterness that she saw nothing but her pain yeah and you know the last thing I'm to do is be Naomi's judge yeah right I that's not where I want to be at all. But thankfully the book does not in the gym but one does it because then in chapter 2 Naomi suggests that Ruth go out and glean and Ruth. That's fastening that Ruth has enough confidence in the Old Testament Scriptures that she actually does that. And then we know what happens right all of a sudden, Boaz comes and what up beautiful picture of grace. What a beautiful picture provision and you know we don't know all the issues about weights and measurements in the Bible, but when you look at how much barley Boaz provided for Ruth who and what I love about Ruth room that first day. Ruth has her lunch and you can you can see it happening because she's been living through a famine right and all of a sudden she has food cheat sheet you want, but then she wraps up the leftovers for mama she didn't become bitter. She's all you Moabitess becomes a woman to fish even wraps up the food for her mother-in-law and she goes back and she tells Naomi what happens and this is what I love about the story. I think Naomi's bitter heart started melting right to praise God there's hope, and this is something that they want a bitter person animal to die that way.

That is not true. A bitter person's heart can change and so all of a sudden Naomi is starting to see the provision of God.

God's keeping his promises God has been good to us.

God is providing for us. Of course she comes up with this outlandish plan.

Why don't you go down to the threshing floor Naomi without it we get from being a bitter woman who has no trust in God that the threshing floor and just believing in the process that God has placed in his word to care for widows come back to this in situ good for Ruth because he's Naomi this better would have been so easy to walk away from her and I think it took time for Naomi's heart begin to soften. Ruth continued to love her to serve her and to take her advice yeah and I think there's a teaching point there because some of our listeners may say listen, I have to live with a bitter person every day. Some constantly hearing the negativity I'm constantly hearing the doubt. I'm constantly hearing the disobedience to the word of God, you can still be a Ruth, you can still be a sweet person. You can still exercise faith even when you're surrounded by people who are bitter spouse. How absolutely, absolutely. And what ends up happening right in the threshing floor experiment turned out really good because God is a faithful God and I love the way the book ends because God gives Boaz and Ruth a baby a baby and what's fascinating is okay whose lap was that baby on when that book was done. It's not Ruth's. It's my mother-in-law.

Yeah, right. Naomi is bound in effect, the women say God gave a baby to Naomi that there saying that it's like what what what and then you read the punchline just like the Bible so often does the punch line when it gives the genealogy of the and explains it. That little baby was in the line of Christ, and so somebody might say, well, maybe God didn't know what he was doing during the famine, or even maybe God didn't know what he is doing dirt guy doesn't know God is no guy doesn't know read the final pages of the book of Ruth. God knows exactly what he was doing and he designed that so that that baby would be in the line of David and would be in the line of Christ and you see Naomi. She's not a bitter woman anymore and can you all we can all picture this happy grandma bouncing this little baby on her lap, rejoicing in the provision of her God and what that means is a bitter person can become a joyful person. As we grow in our faith in God and his provision. Such a sweet story. It makes me cry thinking of the transformation that happened in the most unlikely way you in through the greatest loss that anyone can experience.

And yet God still comes through when we trust him. A man and I think maybe the lie sometimes we believe is Naomi could get out of her bitterness because the circumstances became better and that's what letter bitterness. It's not always the case.

You can get the circumstances can never change or may not change or may not become hopeful.

You can dig out a bitterness you can overcome and get to a life of joy I whenever I present you simple thought let you know trials make better bitter. I was in the choice is yours.

That's right, we have a choice and some people choose bitter. Some Jews better. The circumstances did not change, and that there is joy that fills our heart because of a choice to make right. The great thing is that if were Christians were in Christ, so it's not a choice I have to make by my own strength) with my own power in Christ. I can choose to do and think and believe and want what he desires in the moment and so there's a power inside of me because of who I am in Christ that help me choose well and I do think tell me if I'm right or wrong you know when you're Naomi, when you're living in bitterness the voices you're listening to are critical. You need Ruth in your life you need to choose them and push away the other bitter. The people are saying that you should be into you guessed topless and those voices get there and influence where you end up. While this is a hard thing but one of the bitter voices you often need to stop listening to is your own go many times my hardest counsel. He is the guy I see in the mirror in the morning and so I need to stop listening to me. If I'm saying words to myself that are not informed by the word of God. Many times their lives, their twisted that's why it's so important to surround myself with godly people quite so important to be in the Lord's house on the Lord's day.

That's why it's so important that shack. Whatever it is I'm thinking with the truth of the word of God the check.

Whatever I'm wanting with the principles of Scripture and sometimes I need to tell myself to be quiet and since I'm in a radio format I'll just use the phrase be quiet, but I can think of other things I really need to tell myself from time to time or else I'm just gonna leave my own self down the path of bitterness against the self talk.

The negative that's in there.

I think here is I have just talked to two women this week where there has been was caught in an affair and to struggling with bitterness and thinking of another woman and I just talked to whose husband continues to battle. He's trying to win over Pat Murphy and I was talking to and just feeling her heart become so bitter like how many times do I need to forgive this and so I think every single day were all faced with those decisions in the voices that we hear in our head, and I think it's really important to take those thoughts captive absolutely, absolutely. And you know even when you give those little vignettes amine our hearts break here that this side of heaven. Men and women are facing as a were not minimizing the pain in any way shape or form but were saying it doesn't have to determine the outcome. Christ is more powerful than them.

So, in your own life, you mentioned a couple times the journey to overcome bitterness, I knows is not autobio freaking biography book, but you've obviously journey through that. Do you still today find a creep in. Absolutely I think there's the opportunity for it every day and you know all of us travel and so that means it won't be long before I'll be on another airplane to another airport and anybody who travels understands it doesn't always go in and so you're right. I mean who knows what the rest of the day is going to hold when it comes to airline travel and we've all also been in those situations and watch bitter people make situations really bad, but the other side of it is we've been on airplanes are in that situation where you can see somebody have the right kind of responsibility easily erased givers absolutely yeah absolutely and so do I face it, absolutely I do as an imperfect man in an imperfect world, yes, but praise God we got a way to overcome her so that were not bitter people, can I ask you to do this. I'm thinking of a listener that's just stuck. You know they listen to all these programs with you, and they're still just like I just don't know how to get out of the muck.

The mind of this bitterness. Amen. Could you perform absolutely love to hear you just pray that they didn't find a way to overcome bitterness father in heaven. I thank you for every person who is listening to this prayer and though the side of heaven. I will not know most of the you know each person who's listening right now you know every detail about their life.

You even though the number of hairs on their head. Father, we thank you for your sovereignty and we thank you for being a good father and Lord, I would pray for the person who is stuck in bitterness right now. Some who don't yet know Christ as Savior and Lord. I pray that they would admit their need. Even in this hard time and would choose to trust him or for those who would say that there Christians, but that there just stuck father some they need to lament and I pray that they would learn the discipline of coming to you directly and authentically. In speaking to you. Others have a situation in their life. Are they really need to go and confront another person, but they've not done it for. I pray that you would allow them to bring others around their life. That would give them the direction and the courage to take that step in Lord I pray though, it's totally in your hands. I pray that in many cases, there would be genuine repentance and true forgiveness. As a result, a more though it's hard. I pray that you help all of us to think about the times that were bitter, but it really has to do with some sin that we committed, and we've compounded it because we've lied about it.

Lord, that's so hard to think about, but where sin abounds. Grace does much more abound so we thank you that you give us forgiveness even when we have sinned, and Lord, we thank you. Ultimately, the Jesus is a sweet sweet Savior and I pray that the more we come to love him and know him the less room there is in our heart for even a hint of a root of bitterness. We pray these things, worshiping you for making it possible. In Christ name because we live in a fallen world.

We will always have opportunities to deal with resentment, bitterness on forgiveness. That's gonna be a part of life, but let's purpose to be people who don't allow bitterness to take hold in our hearts. People who can release bitterness as soon as we feel it coming our way.

That's really what Stephen Byers was talking about with David and Wilson here today. How can we be people who are not overcome by bitterness who who are characterized by love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and gentleness.

All of the things we know about from the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians chapter 5 the Stephen Byers book.

Overcoming bitterness is so helpful in helping us not only deal with specific areas where we may be harboring resentment toward someone else, but also in helping us be the kind of people who are not bitter people where that doesn't become characteristic of us. We've got copies of the book our family like today resource Center. You can go to request your copy or call to order at one 800 FL today. Again, the title of the book is overcoming bitterness by Stephen Byers order or call one 803 586-329-1800 F is in family L as in life, and then the word today to get your copy that I wanted to let you know about a special podcast miniseries that we've developed your family life.

It's called Psalms for Christmas time and it features Dana Portland who was a guest with us last week family like to day thing has written a new book called in the Lord. I take refuge to hundred and 50 devotions from the book of Psalms and it's a book were making available here to family like today listeners. Those of you who can help this ministry with a year-end donation as many of you know the last few weeks of every year are a significant time for ministry like ours.

Year-end donations make up about 40% of our operating budget for the year ahead. So you're helping us determine just how effective this ministry is gonna be able to be in 2022. When you make a year-end donation. The good news is, every donation that's being made right now is being matched dollar for dollar.

We got a matching gift fund that's $1.5 million. Your donation whatever it is frees up money from that matching gift fund. Your donation is matched were excited about that opportunity. Hope to hear from many listeners, so we can take full advantage of that matching gift opportunity again when you make a donation will send you a copy of Dana Portland's new book in the Lord. I take refuge, the devotional book from the Psalms, along with a deck of playing cards that will help you start conversations. There's a conversation starter on each playing card.

So these are our thank you gifts to you when you make your donation you can donate or call one 800 FL today to donate. Thanks in advance for your support. Please do pray for us that we will be able to take full advantage of this matching gift opportunity here over the next few weeks and we hope you can join us tomorrow. Working to hear about what we do in a marriage when were going through a tough season because all of us go through tough seasons doesn't matter who you are. Circumstances or become your way better to attest your resolved in marriage. David Meg Robbins rejoin Estevez to person family life and talk about how we navigate tough seasons in marriage. Hope you can join us for that on behalf of our hosts Dave and Ann Wilson. I'm Bob Lapine will see you back next time for another edition of family life today family like today's production of family accrue ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most

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