Tag Archives: bitterness

2 Samuel 14; 2 Corinthians 7; Ezekiel 21; Psalm 68

God places the lonely in families … Psalm 68:6a NLT.

This verse stumps me.

It makes me think that families are a haven of one big welcome.

Some of the loneliest times in my life were in the midst of family. I bet Absalom could relate.

Joab sends a woman to appeal to King David, her story a fictional parallel she reveals later to convict.

13 She replied, “Why don’t you do as much for the people of God as you have promised to do for me? You have convicted yourself in making this decision, because you have refused to bring home your own banished son. 14 All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.” 2 Samuel 14:13-14 NLT.

God is one of reconciliation. I tell myself this over and over–even when relationships are strained, and ways are parted.

God is for reconciliation.

David allows Absalom to return, with conditions. For two years, Absalom never got to see his dad.

33 So Joab told the king what Absalom had said. Then at last David summoned Absalom, who came and bowed low before the king, and the king kissed him. 2 Samuel 14:33 NLT.

The chapter stops here, and I have hope to keep reading. (So I sneak ahead to the next chapter, and see that dysfunction and division are alive and well. It was not the happily-ever-after I hoped would wrap up neatly.)

I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while. Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. 10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death. 2 Corinthians 7:8-10 NLT.

In the time Absalom was away from David, I think whatever sorrow he may have felt turned bitter with resentment and grew. Paul writes above to the Corinthians, and his words churn in my thoughts as I sip at coffee. The kind of sorrow that God wants us to experience, that leads us away from sin and results in salvation. And then there’s worldly sorrow, lacking repentance, resulting in spiritual death. Absalom’s sorrow will lack repentance (turning away from the sin) and lead to death–as it is today: relationships break apart in friendships and families; sorrow without change whittles away at everyone.

I examine the fractures in my life.

Lord, help me to reconcile without conditions so I don’t place stumbling blocks in front of a friend/family member. I want to be mindful of the condition of my own heart, turning from sin (please help me to see it!) and trusting in you. Where hearts are hardened, Lord, I pray that you will work on them. You are the God of reconciliation and restoration. I want to want that as much as you do. Thank you, that you don’t leave me where I am, but want to change me from the inside.

Courtney (66books365)


Filed under 2 Corinthians, 2 Samuel, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament

1 Samuel 26; 1 Corinthians 7; Ezekiel 5; and Psalms 42,43

The greatest gift you can give is forgiveness.  It is the greatest thing you can award … to yourself.

To a person who has spent much time as a victim, whatever is the same is comfortable and whatever is different is scary.  Ironically the very thing that will free a victim forever is forgiveness, but it is such a foreign realm that many never attain it.  I understand because I was a victim for many years.  Not because any person was still victimizing me, but because of the root of bitterness that I held in my heart.

If anyone could have held onto a root of bitterness, it was David, because Saul, the very man who had loved him like a son, was now hunting him like an animal.  Betrayed, abandoned, and on the run, David sought shelter in rocks and solace in solitude.  And he struggled with bitterness or release: “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God,” (Psalm 42-43).  Because David was beginning to realize that freedom could be his through God, when he had a chance to kill Saul, David said, “Don’t destroy him…the LORD himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. But the LORD forbid that I should lay a hand on the LORD’s anointed,” (vv. 9-11).  David had transitioned from bitterness through forgiveness into freedom.

When you’ve been deeply wounded, forgiveness is a painful act.  But I promise you, the momentary pain of letting it go is worth a lifetime of freedom.  It is only in that freedom that you can truly begin to experience God’s love and give it out in return.

Heather Potts


Filed under 66 Books, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan

Deuteronomy 12, Psalm 97-98, Isaiah 40, Revelation 10

See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it. Deuteronomy 12:32

You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” Isaiah 40:9 

Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.” Revelation 10:11

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music.  Psalm 98:4

 As I ran errands with my best friend one gorgeous spring day, suddenly I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, raised my arms in the air and shouted “Thank you God for this beautiful day.” She asked for a little more decorum before quickly disappearing into the store.

Sometimes the honey of life is just so sweet you have to share and declare it. Glorying in the blessings of God is easy. Communicating through the bitterness in life is hard. The Apostle John ate a scroll that was sweet in his mouth, but turned his stomach sour. The angel told him he would prophesy. God commands us also to share his word. (Matt 28:18-20)

The word of God is wonderfully life giving, but it can also cut like a blade through our sin, a process that can be painful while at the same time healing. When sharing the truth in love, I can come off like honey or horseradish depending on my audience.  Only God can transform bitter into sweet. (Exodus 15:23-25) I need Him in my everyday business to help me wield that sword of truth without taking off people’s heads.

These days when I look in the mirror, I can relate to the idea of my life fading like a flower of the field. As the time grows shorter, more and more I long for my life to be one that points to God and his truth.

Oh God, help me to find just the right words so the lost and the broken can taste  and see how good You are.


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