Leviticus 19:18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
I’ve grown accustomed to dealing with bitterness and unforgiveness in my life for a long time. As I’ve shared in previous blogs, I grew up in abuse and dysfunction. So, there’s a lot to deal with. Much has been resolved but I still am addressing it. It’s tiring. There are times (please don’t take this wrong) when I just want to stay angry. I feel OK with being a little bitter. God of course isn’t OK with it. Not. At. All.
With Passover and other Spring feasts quickly approaching, I am choosing to face the junk in my heart. For those who don’t observe Unleavened Bread, I’ll explain a few details.
This is a time when people remove leaven from their home, including foods with leavening in them (yeast, and some include yeast extract and sodium bicarbonate etc.) Many people do a thorough cleaning of their homes in the Spring. This season is a perfect time to do so. Some will clean up every crumb and remove every speck of dust. But it’s not really about physical yeast, though the Exodus story is remembered.
Matthew 6:6 Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Matthew 6:11-12 Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
A few years back I was irritated with cleaning out the cupboards and removing leaven. I’m being honest. It seemed legalistic and rigid. My oldest son is low functioning ASD. He eats according to sensory needs. And it just so happens he loves leavened foods. I was so frustrated. But God was about to show me something powerful in this.
I’m not saying to ignore medical advice or suggest a diet change if there’s true medical necessity. However, it’s so much healthier to remove leaven. I assure you, there’s many foods you can still eat.
So, I discovered yeast and yeast extract is hidden in so many foods. It’s the same in our lives. There’s obvious sins-obvious leaven like a loaf of bread. Then, there’s not so obvious leaven. Bitterness is one of them. It can be stuffed deep inside, slowly poisoning us for many years. Often the person we’re bitter at isn’t in our lives. But it destroys our hearts. It taints how we perceive ourselves, others, and God.
Never trust a mouth that’s bitter.
Bitterness comes out in our speech. Blame, anger, belittling, criticisms, accusations etc. It causes us to speak death vs speaking life. We can’t harbor bitterness and have sweet lives full of good spiritual fruit. Bitterness produces bitter fruit. It’s sin.
Today, I want to encourage you to forgive. I know sometimes a person never apologizes. People pass away before reconciliation can happen. Some don’t see an issue with their behavior. Focusing on blame, who did or said what that caused injury, keeps bitterness alive.
It’s not about warm, fuzzy feelings. It’s about in obedience and faith saying to Abba, “I forgive them. I cancel their debt against me. You judge righteously and help me to love them and see them as You do. Help me give them mercy as You give it to me.”
Remove the leaven of bitterness now.
Matthew 18:23-35 ESV “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’
And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place.
Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”