There are many things we do that destroys us. Sometimes we do them and we know that we are doing them.
Sometimes, we are where we do them, but are not able to stop them. And somehow, we hope that they will not destroy us, but there are things we do that will destroy us.
And I’m going to take about four of those things; the major ones, the heavy hitters that we do that destroy us.
Today’s title on things that destroy is BITTERNESS.
Bitterness can destroy us and many times we live life very, very bitter.
How many of you have read Charles Dicken’s book – Great Expectations?
There is an interesting character there called, Misss Havisham. She was quite an interesting woman because she was disappointed by a man who was going to marry her.
She had a lot of money and this man wanted to marry her because of her money. She was advised against it but somehow she still believed it that it would work.
So on her wedding day, she got dressed, had her wedding cake, everything was ready. She went to the alter 10 minutes to nine and somehow she got the information that the man who was going to marry her is not coming.
Miss Havisham was very disappointed because of what happened. She instructed that all the clocks in her house should be stopped at 10 minutes to nine.
So if you visit her house, every clock reads 10 minutes to nine. Stopped, nothing moved after that. She never took off her wedding clothes, so she wears her wedding clothes. The cake is still there and she lives a very sad bitter life.
She’s very angry, she’s very disappointed. Her life is frozen in time. She’s not able to move on with her life and after some time she decided, maybe I need to get on with my life.
She requested that somebody be brought to her, so they found a girl to live with her, called Esther.
She started to train the girl but for some reason though, Ms Havisham, had good intentions for Esther, she began to poison this girl with a lot of bitterness against men because of the man who disappointed her. She trained this girl to be a very difficult girl who would also break the hearts of other men.
So in time, this girl, Esther grew up and she also became a very devious person. The narrator of the story in Great Expectation is Peep and Esther ended up breaking this guy’s heart.
Eventually, Ms Havisham got to know what she’s done and she regretted. Eventually, her whole house caught fire, she got burnt, eventually, she died.
Quite a dramatic story but it talks about what bitterness can do. A person who passed through an experience and began to feel bad about that experience.
She held on to that experience for so long and over time, she began to pass on the effect of that experience to somebody else and that is what bitterness can do. It would destroy you in the end.
Hebrews 12:14-16, it says, “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. Lest there be any fornicator or profine person like Esau who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.”
The word that is used and translated in English as bitterness in the passage that we read comes from a Greek word that means sharp or pointed. The Greek word is Pikrose.
So you have the idea that bitterness has sharpness to it and it is pointed and when you taste it, it is sharp on your tongue.
When a person is bitter, they are not sweet. They pierce other people and cause a lot of pain in other people’s lives.
When you read the passage we read, you’ll find two things that bitterness will do.
Firstly, it causes defilement. When a person is bitter, it defiles them and then it causes other people.
Secondly, bitterness hinders the grace of God in our lives.
You can have a person who is annointed, good, well meaning, who becomes bitter and for some reason, every good thing in them is poisoned by that bitterness and when you get around them, you become as bitter as they are and they poison you.
Just like the introductory story about Miss Havisham, who was poisoned about someone’s disappointment and then she passed it on to somebody else who also caused bitterness in other people.
We have to be very careful in life so we don’t become bitter. And especially today as we are honouring mothers, it’s very easy for mothers because they feel they have spent so much, invested so much in their children.
And if at a certain point, either the child gets married or the child has other relationships that begins to conflict with their relationship, mothers tend to get bitter.