Bitter Hearts

“And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.”  Luke 11:46

One Saturday morning, I got up early while everyone else slept in. Since I had extra time before my dentist appointment, I went grocery shopping. After loading up my shopping cart, I went to check out. The lines were long. I worried about missing my dentist appointment.

As I waited, someone jumped in front of the line. I could not help myself and gave it to the person hard. “You need to wait in the line just like the rest of us!”, I shouted.

In Luke 11, we see Jesus letting the Pharisees have it again. As I continued to read, I found myself cheering the Lord on, shaking my head in disapproval, and confirming to myself that the hypocritical Pharisees deserved it.

He used harsh words toward the Pharisees, no doubt, but Jesus was never short on love and compassion. He was always ready to forgive and forget. He wanted them to open their hardened hearts to hear the good news of salvation and to see the encounter as an opportunity to re-examine their views and receive him as their Lord one day.

Bumpy encounters with our brothers and sisters should not become a reason for bitterness and payback.

They should be opportunities to put on display our Christian charity and kindness instead. When tempted to lash out, let’s remember to pause and ask the Holy Spirit to watch over the words we say and to keep us from doing what does not glorify him.

We glorify God when we treat others kindly.

Lord, help me to see the bitterness in my heart, a heart ready to condemn. Replace these hurtful feelings with thoughts of love and kindness, which you have shown to me and even the scribes and Pharisees who often condemned you. Amen.

When tempted to react angrily to someone else, ask the Holy Spirit to help you exercise self-control and look at that person with compassion.

By Doug Lim
Used by Permission

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