On Sunday, we first got an update from Ty and JaRee on the miraculous steps that have happened recently in their long legal battle to adopt their foster daughter. They told the story of the last four years, and how some truly horrible things that happened have now been turned for their good. We are all rejoicing with them!
We also prayed together for the trip coming up this week to the Dominican Republic where team members will serve with our missionary in Cercadillo, Ina York.
Then Pastor Ed finished up his series "How to Deal with How You Feel" by looking at the subject of Bitterness. We looked at Matthew 18:21-35
The way to deal with bitterness is almost always through forgiveness.
"Bitterness only consumes the vessel that contains it." Bitterness makes us an accomplice in the crime of hurting ourselves.
Forgiveness means to release someone from a debt they owe you. It's not enablement, but not holding on to the right to be paid back.
Forgiveness doesn't have a limit.
If we refuse to forgive others, God will not forgive us.
God knows that will harm us and everyone around us.
Six Steps to Freedom from Bitterness:
1) Identify the source of the bitterness.
Sometimes the real root is an older hurt from years before. Identifying the core hurt helps.
We saw last week that grief is a process, but bitterness is a lack of process, a resolve to stay angry.
2) Pull out bitterness by the root.
Hebrews 12:15 -- Get rid of it, regardless of how justified I feel. Bitterness defiles many. A little bit left grows and does real damage.
3) Assume the best that you can about the offending person.
Extend as much grace as possible.
4) Cherish your own forgiveness.
Real connection with God is blown away by God's forgiveness.
5) Whatever it is, let God handle it.
Romans 12:19 "Waiting" in the Psalms is often in the context of the Psalmist has been wronged, and now it's time for God to act. But he leaves it to God.
You can't do anything about it, anyway.
There are never enough rocks to satisfy our bitterness.
Our happiness depends on this.
It's hard to get to this point, but it must happen.
Forgiveness is linked to happiness.