What do you think of when you hear the words black coffee?
Saturday mornings on the couch? The source that gets you through the day (behind Jesus, of course)? Or maybe you just think “ew.” You know what I think?
Most people don’t like black coffee, and the majority that do like it have accustomed a taste to it over time. And you know what? The same thing happens when our hearts are bitter. Being bitter feels gross at first, but as we let the anger, resentment, and hurt make a home in our hearts it starts to become a familiar feeling.
I bring this whole subject up because I am guilty of letting bitterness reside, and I think it’s so easy for all of us to let it happen. We see bitterness as justification for times we have been wronged, and friends, we need to let that mindset go. It’s not healthy. More importantly, it’s not what the Lord wants for us.
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
– Proverbs 4:23
I love that God makes it so clear how important it is for us to watch what we let inside our hearts. “Above all else” guys- God thinks this is important. He cares about the condition of our hearts, and He wants them to be full of his Word, not the ugly comments on Facebook or that nasty look your friend gave you for no reason.
So this week, I say we all devote ourselves to spring cleaning our hearts; lets take out all the yucky stuff and instead fill it with beautiful truth. If you don’t know where to start, here’s the steps I will be taking throughout this week.
- Confessing: Spilling the beans to God is a great way to start. Confessing my bitterness and what I’m upset about gives Him the opportunity to lift those burdens off of my shoulders, and He can do that for you too!
Now repent of your sins and and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord
– Acts 4:19-20
2. Alter my thoughts: Whenever I have the urge to hold a grudge, I’ll remind myself that being bitter hurts me more than hurts anyone else. Letting ugly thoughts about someone or something dwell in my mind will allow them to seep into my heart, which is the OPPOSITE of guarding my heart!
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
– Ephesians 4:31-32
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
– Romans 12:2
3. Prayer: Praying for those I’m upset with is a vital step to truly getting the yucky stuff out of my heart. It may sound absurd, but that’s that’s what so cool about God: He calls us to be different and respond to the world differently. Though this may be a difficult challenge, praying for others can not only bless them, but free me from bitterness! It’s a win-win!
It’s also important to pray about the condition of my heart. I have to be willing to be humble with God and confess that I have also made a mistake by holding on to my hurt. Asking for help in trusting Him and loving others is a great way to show that I NEED God in the process of all of this.
But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!
– Matthew 5:44
Have you gotten used to the taste of your stale, black coffee? If so, let’s use this week to dump it out, clean up the mug, and fill it with something sweeter- WAY sweeter.