A Pandemic of Bitterness

It seems that the whole world is being devoured by hatred, and, indeed, Jesus spoke of a time when the love of many would grow cold (Matthew 24:12). We see this in the unbridled bitterness spewing forth daily in the media. Nations are divided by those who seek power over others who have opposing views; there is growing racial and religious discord resulting in never-ending violence; and, even the most fundamental understanding of what it means to be a human being is being redefined by those who practice shameful and godless lifestyles.

The Apostle Paul wrote that “the sting of death is sin” (1 Corinthians 15:56). Sin is how Satan was able to “sting” both Adam and Eve and then all of humanity by overwhelming them with disobedience to God—and thus, invoking the death penalty on the world. We are warned:

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

One way we can be devoured is to let Satan plant a root of bitterness (Hebrews 12:15) within any of us who are members of the Church of God. That ploy has worked far too often and with far too much success. Once bitterness is sown, its contagion is deadly. Former brethren who once walked in love and unity turn to become bitter, resentful and consumed by Satan’s deception.

We are taught this fundamental truth of God—it is how we can avoid and even cure bitterness:

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Galatians 5:14).

That counsel is followed by this caution:

“But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another (Galatians 5:15).”

Who among the brethren do you hate, resent, disrespect or simply want to avoid? Hopefully, not a single individual arises in the mind of any of us in answering this question. If there is, the surest resolve for us is to repent to God for our own sins. If someone has wronged us, we must do what Jesus commanded us to do (sadly, this is not being done as it should—a step that would help heal a bitter spirit):

“‘Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother’” (Matthew 18:15).

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