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The Blight of Bitterness

Love Worth Finding / Adrian Rogers
The Truth Network Radio
December 3, 2021 7:00 am

The Blight of Bitterness

Love Worth Finding / Adrian Rogers

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December 3, 2021 7:00 am

In this message, Adrian Rogers warns about the blight of bitterness, and shows us the biblical way to uproot bitterness before it takes its full effect.

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Listen closely as Adrian Rogers addresses how bitterness can take its toll on your life.

Adrian Rogers. As we've just heard, bitterness is a terrible problem that blows the joy out of our lives and leaves our souls in darkness. It often manifests itself in people as hostility and fault finding.

Sometimes it can look like self-pity or an aloof, disinterested spirit. The Bible shows how to uproot it before it takes its full effect. If you have your Bible, turn to Hebrews chapter 12. We'll begin in verse 14 as Adrian Rogers explains the blight of bitterness.

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord, looking diligently, lest any man fail of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled. The title of our message this morning is, The Blight of Bitterness. Now I'm going to explain to you in just a moment what bitterness is, but I think most of us already know what bitterness is because we have been around bitter people. Or maybe we are a bitter person. Often a bitter person is a person who is hostile, a person who is caustic, a person who is critical, a person who is overloaded with resentment and fault finding, a person who is angry. Those are often frequently bitter people. But sometimes the bitterness doesn't show itself that way. Sometimes the bitterness shows itself by being a crybaby type of person, morose, sad, full of self-pity, melancholy. Many times these people, when you pull the veil back, are really just bitter people. Or sometimes it shows itself in a person who is cool, aloof, disinterested, not a participant, but inside they are a seething volcano of bitterness. Now it is a terrible, horrible, hurtful, hellish problem. The blight of bitterness.

And the Bible warns us about it. The first thing I want you to see as we look at our text this morning is what I'm going to call the root of bitterness. The root of bitterness.

Now look at it in verse 15. Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you and thereby many be defiled. What is the root of bitterness and how does this root find lodging in hearts and lives? Well, a bitter person is a person generally who has been hurt. Something has happened to them. Life has not worked out as they thought that it should work out. Someone has hurt them.

Maybe that one they perceive to be God himself. They're bitter at God or they're bitter at society or they are bitter at specific individuals. Why this bitterness? Well, these people have been hurt and that hurt turns to anger and hostility. Now we've all been hurt.

There's not a one of us here that has not suffered some kind of hurt. And when we are hurt, our natural inclination is to react with anger, is it not? To react with resentment.

A desire to get even, a desire to hurt the one that has hurt us. When a bitter person is hurt, he doesn't deal with his bitterness, but he takes it into his heart. He begins to dwell on it.

He begins to mull it over and over again. And then in order to justify this feeling that he has in his heart, he looks for other problems to justify this feeling of bitterness. If somebody hurts him, he begins to watch that person to see if he can find other faults in that individual. And then he becomes a very negative person. And he looks for all of the faults and the flaws that he can find in that other person.

And when he looks for them, he will certainly find them. Because we all have flaws and we all have faults. I'll tell you something else about a bitter person, a costly Christian, a sour saint. They have a way of bringing out bitterness in other people.

You know, they're very clever, many of them. A bitter person, because he becomes a student of this sort of thing, he knows where your emotional hot button is. And he knows how to push that button and to get out of you the response that he wants. A bitter person really wants to get under your skin to see if he can get you to react with hostility to him. And when he can, or when she can, that only confirms the bitterness that they already have. It only pushes that down deeper into their subconsciousness and gives them a right to justify that bitterness. Anna Russell wrote these words.

I enjoy them. She said, I went to my psychiatrist to be psychoanalyzed to find out why I killed my cat and blackened my wife's eyes. He put me on a downy couch to see what he could find.

And this is what he dredged up from my subconscious mind. When I was one, my mommy hid my dolly in the trunk. And so it follows naturally that I'm always drunk. When I was two, I saw my father kiss the maid one day.

That's why I suffer now from kleptomania. When I was three, I suffered ambivalence from my brothers. And so it follows naturally that I poisoned all my lovers.

I'm so glad I have learned the lesson it has taught that everything I do that's wrong is someone else's fault. And this is the way the bitter person feels. He feels absolutely justified in his bitterness.

And so he is a negative person looking for faults to reconfirm this feeling of hostility and pity that he feels in his own heart and in his own life. And so the root of bitterness grows in the soil of a herd that has not been properly dealt with. Secondly, I want you to notice not only the root of bitterness, but I want you to notice the fruit of bitterness. Look again in verse 15. The Bible says we're to be looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness... Now watch it.

Springing up, because every root has fruit. Springing up trouble you and thereby many be defiled. Now you're going to find out that first of all, when you're bitter, it's going to hurt you first. It's going to hurt you. It's going to trouble you. But not only is it going to trouble you, your bitterness will have a contagion about it. Many are going to be defiled. And so first of all, there is personal trouble and then there is social trouble that comes from bitterness. Look first of all at the personal trouble. The Bible says that this root of bitterness will trouble you.

And I'm not saying that every sick person is bitter, but I'm saying that every bitter person will eventually, if he doesn't deal with that bitterness, will be sicker than he ought to be. Now pay attention. There is the physical consequences. There is that physical trouble.

The Bible says it will trouble you, but not only that physical trouble, that emotional, psychological trouble. When you let somebody make you angry, when you get bitter towards somebody, you become their slave. You become the slave of the person with whom you're angry.

Now to the degree that you hold resentment toward anyone, to that same degree, you are that one's slave. There will be physical trouble. Mark it down.

There will be emotional trouble. Mark it down. There will be spiritual trouble.

Mark it down. Now the verse before our verse, verse 14, says, follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man will see the Lord. Now you can't have hellishness in your heart and holiness in your heart at the same time.

You just can't do it. And so he mentions peace with men and holiness in the same sentence and then tells us not to be bitter. So pay attention, dear friend. There is going to be that personal trouble, but not only is there going to be that personal trouble, there's going to be that social defilement. He goes on to say, not only is it going to trouble you, but he says, and many will be defiled.

Bitterness sets off a chain reaction. I want you to put your bookmark there in Hebrews chapter 12, and I want you to turn to Ephesians chapter 4. It is a very, very significant passage of Scripture.

Ephesians chapter 4, verse 26. Be angry and sin not. Well, when does anger become sin? Well, listen, let not the sun go down upon your wrath. That is, when it becomes bitterness. What does it mean, let not the sun go down upon your wrath? Upon your anger. When you begin to live with that anger, when you nurse that anger, feed that anger, cherish that anger, and you go to bed with it, and you get up with it, and you go to bed with it, and you get up with it, the sun goes down upon your wrath.

Then what do you do? You give place to the devil. Look in verse 27.

Neither give place to the devil. When you get angry and you sin, and you refuse to deal with that sin, it becomes bitterness. And that bitterness in your life becomes the devil's campground, the devil's beachhead. It is the devil's place.

It is that foulness in which Satan takes up lodging to war on the rest of your life and to trouble you. But now I want you to notice how this not only troubles you, but how it begins to spread. Skip down to verse 31 and pay attention. This is a very significant passage of Scripture, and I want you to look at it. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice. Now here I want you to notice how this bitterness spreads, how it troubles others when you allow it to have a foothold in you and begin to trouble you.

Now look at it. First of all, bitterness. He mentions bitterness in verse 31. You are wounded, you're hurt, you're angry, angry at God, angry at your neighbors, angry at your wife, angry at your husband, angry at your parents. You're angry and you don't deal with it.

You go to bed with it. You allow the sun to go down upon your wrath. It becomes bitterness, and that bitterness turns to wrath.

Look at it. He mentions wrath next. The Greek word that is translated wrath has the idea of hotness, internal heat. Now what happens is when you get bitter, you take it in, you do sort of a slow burn.

You just smolder on the inside. That's what wrath is. It's that slow burn. You ever feel it?

Sure you have if you're normal. First of all, there's that bitterness. That bitterness turns to wrath.

Now watch it. The wrath turns to anger. That's the next thing he mentions. Now anger is that which is outward. Anger is explosive. It comes to the surface and you go on a temper tantrum.

Somebody jostles you and you just explode. And they say, my goodness, what got into them? I tell you, there were rags smoldering in the closet for a long time. You just opened the door and fed it with oxygen.

That's all you did. And it burst into flame. And there's that outward hostility.

And it's far out of proportion to the thing that seemed to have caused it. There's anger. And then watch. Clamor. That's when the old tongue gets loose. You get into a war of words. Then it says evil speaking.

No longer is it clamor. No longer is it just an argument. But now it becomes name calling. You want to vilify the other person. You say things that you know are not true about that person.

Then that evil speaking turns to the worst part of all. Malice. Which means I want to do you harm. I want to hurt you.

I want to injure you. And we're filled with malice. That's what the writer of Hebrews is talking about when he says you watch that root of bitterness.

It'll spring up. It'll trouble you physically, emotionally, spiritually. Not only will it trouble you, many will be defiled.

Now the third and final thing I want to mention. I want you to see not only what I call the root of bitterness and not only the fruit of bitterness but I want you to see the pursuit of bitterness. Go back if you will to Hebrews chapter 12 and you'll see why I said the pursuit of bitterness. Look in verse 15. The Bible says we are to be looking diligently.

Just underscore that. Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God. Lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you.

You see a root is underground. You have to seek it out. You have to pursue it.

You have to search for it. Yeah. Now could it be that the Holy Spirit of God wants to do radical surgery on you this morning and get down deep, deep, deep and reveal to you something about yourself that perhaps you've never known, never been willing to admit and with some of you it may go all the way back to your childhood, a root of bitterness. You need to pursue it for three reasons. Number one, you need to pursue it to recognize it.

When you recognize it, when you make a proper diagnosis, you've done a big thing. See, so many people never recognize it. I mean, they don't admit it. They are bitter, but it would be the last thing. They would never say, I am a bitter person.

They may hide their bitterness behind a mask. A preacher and a deacon went golfing one day and the deacon said to the preacher, preacher, you're the most even-handed man I've ever seen. You always smile when I hit my ball in the water hazard in the sand, in the rough, or when I make a bad shot, hook it, slice it. He said, boy, it just shows all over me. But you, you do the same thing, but you just keep on smiling. The preacher said, yeah, I know it.

But he said, everywhere I spit, the grass dies. Recognize it. Recognize it. Sometimes you can hide it with a fa├žade. When you live outwardly a good life but you have bitterness down beneath the surface, that outward life is just your way of pruning the limbs while you strengthen the root.

And the more you prune the limbs, the more you strengthen the root. And the more of these outward things you do that seem so good and the things that you give up, but if you don't deal radically with that root cause, it's going to trouble you, and many are going to be defiled. You need to pursue it in order to recognize it.

Then you need to pursue it in order to remove it, to root it out. And there's only one thing that will root it out, and that is to forgive the person who has wounded you. Are you certain, Pastor? Let's get it from the Word of God. I want you to see what God's Word says in Ephesians 4, verses 31 and 32. Now, we dealt with verse 31, but I want you to listen to verse 32 now. Listen. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and evil speaking be put away from you, that is, remove it with all malice. All right, how are you going to do it?

Listen, here's how you do it. And be ye kind, tenderhearted. Listen now. Forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Are you listening?

The only way that you can remove it is to forgive fully, freely that person who has hurt you. You say, that is not fair. They deserve my wrath.

No, they don't. First of all, you don't know enough to punish them. If this is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord. But I'm going to tell you something else, friend.

It's going to hurt you more than it's going to hurt them, but I'm going to tell you something else. The model for this is God forgiving you. Is there anybody here who deserved to be forgiven when God forgave you?

Anybody? Of course not. Be therefore kind, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. The grace of God causes us to do this. That's the reason the writer of Hebrews said, beware lest any of you fail from the grace of God and a root of bitterness spring up. You think of God's grace.

You think of what Jesus Christ has done for you and the grace of God to you. And then on the basis of God's grace, be ye kind, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. And when you do, God the Holy Spirit will root that bitterness out.

You say that's going to be hard. Calvary was hard. And the person who deals with bitterness is going to have to taste of Calvary.

But it's worth it. The Bible said of Jesus, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross. He suffered for the joy of forgiving us. And we can suffer for the joy of forgiving others. Mark Twain said that forgiveness is the fragrance on the heel that crushed a violet.

That's what it is. You say, well, when I forgive them, is that going to deal with these memories? No, the memory will be there. But it'll be different.

Somebody put it this way. The hornet of remembering may fly again. But the sting of bitterness has been removed. Oh, you will remember it psychologically.

But the sting is gone because you put it beneath Calvary's blood and you've been kind, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. You're to pursue it to recognize it. You're to pursue it to remove it. Ah, but you're not finished yet.

You are to pursue it to replace it. Now, it's not with our significance that Hebrews chapter 12, verse 14 says, Follow peace with all men in holiness. That is, it's not just enough to get the bitterness out. We want to be right with our brother, with our sister. We want to be reconciled. Amen? There may be somebody, dear friend, who has shut you out, but I want you to take God's love and bring them in.

Just bring them in for God for Christ's sake hath done that to you. My friend, you listen to me now. Beware lest there be a root of bitterness springing up that troubles you and defiles many. And what a powerful and encouraging word for each of us today. Maybe as you've listened, you have a prayer request that you'd like to share. At Love Worth Finding, it's one of our great honors to come alongside you and pray with you and for you. Go to our website homepage, slash radio and scroll down to find our prayer wall. There you'll find the option to either submit a prayer request or pray for others or both. This resource is one of our favorite ways to keep the ministry and the community praying continually for one another's needs.

Please let us hear from you today. Go to slash radio and scroll down to our prayer wall. Now, if you'd like to order a copy of today's message, you can call us at 1-877-LOVEGOD and mention the title, The Blight of Bitterness. This message is also part of the insightful series, Getting a Handle on Your Emotions. For the complete collection, all eight powerful messages.

Call 877-LOVEGOD or order online at slash radio. Or you can write us at Love Worth Finding, box 38600, Memphis, Tennessee 38183. Do you feel the blight of bitterness deep down in your soul? Remember these powerful words from Adrian Rogers. There may be somebody who has shut you out, but I want you to take God's love and bring him in for Christ's sake and what he's done for you. We hope you'll join us next time for more profound truth simply stated right here on Love Worth Finding. Adrian Rogers said, if you woke up this morning and you're still here, God still has a plan for your life.

We love that word. And how dedicated Pastor Rogers was about discipling and equipping believers for their Christian walk. That's why at Love Worth Finding, we are passionate about creating and sharing resources to help you cultivate and nurture your relationship with Christ. And for a gift of any amount right now, we want to share our new three-pack of writing journals. You can take sermon notes, write out prayers, or jot down the profound thoughts from your quiet time in these practical and useful journals. We also have a beautiful new leather cover that holds the journals in our online store. For more information about these products, go to slash radio. That's slash radio. And thank you for your continued support of Love Worth Finding.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-14 23:42:05 / 2023-07-14 23:51:19 / 9

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