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Sunday, March 29, 2015

No Need to Stink

parasites, bitterness, evil, rafflesia, stink of death
Rafflesia is a parasitic plant found in Asia.

It has no stems, leaves or roots, but it inserts itself into vines and grows a five-petaled flower known as a "corpse flower." It smells like rotting flesh and sometimes grows 39 inches in circumference. 

What a great illustration of bitterness. Bitterness is a parasite. It needs a host human to grow and produce death and decay.

But bitterness is different than Rafflesia because it can be instantly cut off, killed, and overcome.

"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:20-21 

In God's economy things always seem upside-down, impossible, and illogical.

But it's true. We can keep evil, injustice, and mistreatment from ruling over us by responding in goodness, not bitterness. 

This isn't an "easy" cure. It's not natural for us to treat our enemies with kindness. But we have Christ's power (Philippians 4:13), and we have the assurance that the results will be miraculous and freeing!
image: wiki commons, Steve Cornish
Bible Study

If you dealing with bitterness, I encourage you to memorize one or all of the verses below. Better yet, memorize them before you go face a situation that could cause bitterness.

1. Romans 12:19-21: Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

2. 1 Peter 3:9: Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

3. Luke 6:28-30: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.

Please work through the study before reading these insights

Dealing with bitterness is one of the most difficult things we do as Christians. And it is also one of the most important. Bitterness can completely derail our faith if we are not careful. And sometimes the root of bitterness is our bitterness toward God for allowing a difficult situation.

There is something healing about memorizing Scripture during difficult times. It truly changes us. I encourage you to read the study "I Can't Change"  and insights HERE. If you've never recited Scripture to deal with a particular sin problem or difficulty, I encourage you to "experiment" -- give it a try. If you do it faithfully and seriously, I believe it changes your heart.

copyright, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted

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