Taking thr Bite out of Bitterness


Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings from Scripture

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Psalm 50.14 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, 15 and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

Last time, we saw 3 key things to draw out of this short but pregnant text: God finds Thankfulness, Faithfulness and Humble Dependence upon Him, precious. And we discussed the power of being thankful. Nothing else can disarm and disgorge bitterness from the heart than thankfulness. This is vitally important when we consider that Heb. 12.15 tells us that bitterness fails to obtain the grace of God, causes trouble and defiles many – spreads to others. Bitterness grounds itself in one’s sense of being shortchanged, wronged, and that, without any justice. Thankfulness attacks bitterness head on by reminding us that we are God’s and He is just and can do us no wrong. So that even when others do, He is overruling them, and meaning good for us in it. But why is it then referred to here as a sacrifice? Herein lies the rub. Thankfulness is seen as a sacrifice because it is so very expensive – at least in fallen, human terms. For us to be thankful you see, we have to give up very dear products of our own hearts and mind which are both familiar and comforting. Things like Self-pity, grudges and unforgiveness. We hold these kinds of things very tightly. They serve as a means to justify ourselves and rationalize all sorts of sins against others. They are a means to soothe our consciences artificially. So that we can hit back, and feel right about it. We don’t want to give up the things that allow us to focus upon ourselves and our sad condition. I mean if I don’t feel sorry for myself, who will? Thankfulness and rejoicing in God’s goodness in the aftermath of sin robs me of doing penance, which is so sweet to the self-justifying soul. It takes away sympathy from others, excuses for inaction, self-indulgence, rudeness, shortness with others and lowered expectations all around. I’ll have to surrender anger at God over unmet desires or unliked providences. These are very expensive and dear to us. They will cost a lot to give up. Some of us have a lot invested in those “stocks”. Thankfulness will force us to do so. And, it will free us from their tyranny, while bringing joy and gladness to the soul.

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