Once, in college, God prompted me to look up and write down all the verses I could find about bitterness — things like not letting a root of bitterness grow, and so on.
I could use that stack of verses lately; maybe I’ll redo it.
a) No one is coming to playgroup tomorrow. (Good side: they all (except the one with the newborn) did reply to my email.) One is pregnant and is having an ultrasound. One is watching her kids during her appointment. One just had a baby. One has a meeting with a cause she’s working for. One is going to a garage sale. One is substituting at her kid’s preschool. They all have perfectly acceptable reasons, and yet I want to thumb my nose at them all. (Did people really use to do that?)
b) There are other things, some way back, some more recent, some ongoing — and as much as I can rationally understand and accept these things, even theoretically view them with some compassion and grace and forgiveness, it doesn’t get anywhere near my feelings. Well, maybe a little near, but not enough to dispel the bitterness.
c) Bitter people are no fun. They are miserable and make everyone else miserable. I don’t want to be one.
d) Bitterness runs out of options pretty quickly. There are only so many people in the world, and I need to be in relationship with at least a few of them.
e) My parenting “motto” is compassion and respect. I work pretty hard at it in my relationship with Amy. I would like to extend that to other relationships.
f) Bitterness is dry and shriveled, shrunken, twisted up on itself. A little water, Lord, just a little water… where is this spring of living water? Help me out of these broken cisterns I’ve hewn. (Jeremiah 2.)
g) (I sooooooo love that chapter. “What fault did your fathers find in me?” “It’s no use — I love foreign gods and must run after them.” “Followed worthless idols and became worthless.” (Or, as I think Joe pointed out, it could be translated “Followed emptiness and became empty.” In fact, Joe gave a series of three lectures on this chapter, which used to be available online. I started transcribing them a long while ago and never finished; maybe I’ll take up that task again and ask him if I can post my transcriptions. Or I could ask him if I could post the sound files, too.)