Written September 2015
Here is an excerpt from a downloadable teaching available for purchase at http://www.thepoolministries.org.
The subject of bitterness has always troubled me because no one has ever defined it or explained it to me. Actually no one has ever tried to explain it to me. I have been taught to avoid bitterness; to not be bitter; to not let a root of bitterness grow up (???????) … whatever that means … and so on, but I have never had ANYONE teach me what bitterness is. So here is a taste of what the Lord showed me about bitterness. (I pestered and pestered Him until He told me). 🙂
Mara means bitter. (Naomi means my joy, by the way.) I looked up the meaning of Mara in the Hebrew and its literal meaning is a bitter taste ranging from disagreeable (the taste of a walnut shell) to poisonous or deadly (the taste of an elephant ear plant). Applied to Naomi’s suffering I think it is safe to say that she was experiencing such extreme loss that recovery felt truly impossible.
I understand Naomi’s anger towards God. I have seen this tendency in myself, in other Christians and in non-Christians. It appears to be universal for people to blame someone when things go bad. And who better to blame than God who is omniscient and omnipotent? He could have stopped it from happening. Couldn’t He? We all think like this and it takes time working through difficult losses with the Lord to come to an understanding of sin, eternity and God’s plan for humanity. Certainly in the grip of a horribly devastating loss we tend to automatically rage at the Lord. I don’t think being angry at the human who has hurt us or even being angry at God, while we are working through our loss, results in bitterness. Bitterness sets in when we sink into resigned despair and accept that we will never recover from what that person/God did/allowed.
Picture a tree, its roots deeply planted in the soil of pervasive painful experience, the sturdy trunk wrapped around the belief that your life is ruined, and dangling from its far-reaching branches hatred, resentment, jealousy, cynicism, rage, judgmentalism, pride, hopelessness, depression, despair and unbelief. And probably other fruit I haven’t thought of yet. (The pride grows from our belief that we would NEVER treat anyone like God/person treated us. We are BETTER than them. Ha ha! Live long enough and you will see how true that is.) We will talk about the unbelief in a bit.
The complete article is available at http://www.thepoolministries.org. This is an excerpt. I am referring to Naomi in the book of Ruth.