4 Minute Daily Devotions: Battling Bitterness

Malachi 3: 15 “But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape.”
The greatest foe against faith is not unbelief; it is actually bitterness. Bitter people find it hard to truly believe in God because it seems as though He has not lived up to His side of the bargain we call life. Resentment and bitterness fragment faith and can eventually destroy it altogether. It is the fiercest foe that the Church has to face. It is the most damaging opponent that Christians have to conquer.
A tragedy, such as the loss of a loved one, can overshadow someone so much that, in the midst of their grief, they bitterly cry out against God’s goodness and grace. A major disappointment, from a Christian leader, family member, or friend, can also lead to an unresolved bitterness against God’s people. And even unfulfilled dreams can be a bitter experience to faithful people, especially when they see evildoers prosper. It’s like a spiritual slap in the face, which leaves the believer unappreciated, unnoticed, and unhappy.
Faith is not enough to face down bitterness. Hope and love are also required to reclaim bitter hearts and diminish resentment. The hope that we have in God’s everlasting justice and mercy reminds us that evil will not triumph eternally. The love that we experience from God through Jesus and His followers comforts and reassures us during the toughest and bleakest of times.
I think that St. Francis of Assisi best described this process of beating bitterness through his own wonderful prayer:
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to pastor@erinpresbyterian.org.
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About stushie

I'm originally from Scotland and have been a Presbyterian pastor for over twenty years. I live in Knoxville, TN. I enjoy art as a means of therapy, but also as a creative way to strengthen my spiritual connection to God.
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