Sunday, 19 March 2017

A Taste of Bitterness

"Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;" (Hebrews 12: 14-15 NKJV).

I operate a micro bakery from the basement of my home and I bake croissants with different kinds of fillings. One of my clients suggested to add some marzipan to my almond filling. I found a Swiss recipe that suggested to add a few drops of bitter almond extract to enhance the taste. Excited to try this out I quickly realized how intense the flavor of the extract can be and how bitter my paste had become. I had to decide to either start from scratch and throw this batch away or get rid of the bitter taste. My first thought was to add sugar to neutralize the bitterness. To my disappointment it didn't really change anything. Finally after adding a lot of sweetness and finding no remedy I tried lemon zest and thankfully that type of intense flavor somehow overcame most of the bitterness! 

This dramatic situation made me think of human bitterness that comes in many shapes and forms: in resentment, anger, unforgiveness, disappointment, being treated unfairly and so forth. And when we harbor bitterness in our hearts we cannot just sugar coat it either. The only effective way to get rid of this strong force and enemy of our own hearts is to truly repent and choose to be a forgiving person. This is difficult I know, I have been there and done it many times myself, but I came to realize that this is the only way to a wholesome, healthy and balanced life.

It is my prayer today that we be sensitive people to any hint of bitterness and chose forgiveness above anything else.

-Suzanne Tanner.

Resolving Bitterness the Jesus Way:

Luke 6

Love Your Enemies

27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

Do Not Judge

37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
39 And He spoke a parable to them: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. 41 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

A Tree Is Known by Its Fruit

43 “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart[g] brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Build on the Rock

46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.[h] 49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell.[i] And the ruin of that house was great.”

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