WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
NOVEMBER 22, 2021
TOPIC: DON’T POISON YOURSELF
BY T. O. BANSO
“Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity” (Acts 8:22-23 New King James Version).
In a figurative sense, bitterness is defined as “extreme enmity, grudge, hatred, or rather, an excessive degree or implacableness of passions and emotions” (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary).
Bitterness is a destructive emotion you must never tolerate in your heart. As long as you live, people will wrong you (you wrong others, too). Nevertheless, you must never nurse a grudge against anyone or refuse to forgive, whether they ask for forgiveness or not. Proverbs 19:11 says, “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression” (New King James Version). The New Living Translation puts it this way: “People with good sense restrain their anger; they earn esteem by overlooking wrongs.”
There are many people today, including pastors and church members, who are bitter, because of one thing or the other people have done against them. This is dangerous. How can you, a minister of God, be living in bitterness, because of what some members, current or former, did to you? As a Christian, how can you be living in bitterness, because of what your former or current pastor, fellow Christians, relations, neighbours, etc. did to you? Have you removed forgiveness from your Bible?
Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer to pray, “And forgive us our sins — just as we forgive those who have sinned against us” (Luke 11:4a New Living Translation). He also said in Matthew 6:14-15,
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (New King James version). Furthermore, Jesus said in Mark 11:25-26, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses” (New King James Version). Ephesians 4:32 and Colossians 3:13 also talk about forgiving one another.
In the New Testament, the Greek word for bitterness is pikria, which is derived from a similar Greek word pikros. Pikria means acridity (especially poison), literally or figuratively. Literally, pikria is used to describe plants that produce poisonous fruits. Pikria describes the heart that refuses to forgive or be reconciled because of perceived wrongs or injuries. Bitterness is harbouring an entrenched ill-feeling towards someone who has offended you.
Bitterness proceeds from unforgiveness. Unforgiveness and resentment go hand in hand, which is not good for your spiritual, emotional, and physical health. A dictionary defines resentment as a lingering ill will towards a person for a real or imagined wrong. Who wronged you or treated you badly? Don’t be resentful.
Bitterness often results in wrath, where, in angry outbursts, people express the inner feelings they have been harbouring. The bitterness of the heart becomes evident as the bitterness of the mouth. Romans 3:14 says, “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness” (New King James Version). Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34).
In Acts 8, Peter told Simon the sorcerer, that he was poisoned by bitterness (verse 23). Before Peter came to Samaria, Simon had accepted Christ, but when he saw Peter laying hands on people and they were receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, he offered money to Peter to give him power so that anyone he laid his hand upon would receive the Holy Spirit like he had seen Peter doing. Maybe he was not genuinely saved or he had reverted to his sorcery.
Peter rebuked him that his money would perish with him because he thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money. He said he had neither part nor portion in what God was doing because his heart was not right in His sight.
Peter said further, “Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity” (Acts 8:22-23 New King James Version). Take note of that phrase: you are poisoned by bitterness. Maybe he was bitter because he had lost spiritual control of the city.
Bitterness is poisonous. Don’t poison yourself. According to Proverbs 14:10, “The heart knows its own bitterness, and a stranger does not share its joy” (New King James Version). Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do (Proverbs 4:23). Don’t allow bitterness.
Bitterness is poison. It will make you unhealthy spiritually, emotionally and physically. Bitterness can cause spiritual and physical death. Job 21:25 says, “Another man dies in the bitterness of his soul, Never having eaten with pleasure” (New King James Version). It will hinder your fellowship with God and man. Bitterness will hinder answers to your prayers because unforgiveness will not allow God to answer your prayers (Matthew 6:12; Luke 11:4).
Bitterness will defile or corrupt. Hebrews 12:15 talks about watching out that no root of bitterness spring up and cause trouble thereby defiling the church. The New Living Translation renders the verse thus: “Watch out that no bitter root of unbelief rises up among you, for whenever it springs up, many are corrupted by its poison.” Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary says the “root of bitterness” is a wicked person or a dangerous sin.
Ephesians 4:31 says you should put away bitterness along with other sins listed. No matter what anyone has done to you, never nurse bitterness. Hebrews 12:14 says you should pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. Bitterness is poisonous to your inner being. If you have bitterness in your heart, repent now. Forgive. Detoxify your heart. Purge yourself of bitterness.
Don’t poison yourself. The cure for bitterness is forgiveness. Forgive from your heart (Matthew 18:35). Don’t let anger mature or degenerate into bitterness. Don’t sin by letting anger control you; don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry (Ephesians 4:26).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of bitterness in my heart. I receive forgiveness in Jesus’ name. I shall no more poison myself. Holy Spirit, help me to forgive others and not be bitter towards anyone.
(For over 250 in-depth and insightful messages by T.O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947