UNDERSTANDING BITTER PEOPLE

December 19, 2018

Intimacy with the Lord and His Word is the key to understanding everything. Through the Lord's instruction and by His grace, we grow to understand Him, understand ourselves and the ""thoughts and intents of our heart"" (Hebrews 4:10). But there is more.

The Bible describes for us all types of people and how we should understand and relate to them. Proverbs is particularly helpful in this regard. Here’s one of the most tragic kinds of men, described in Proverbs.

11 There is a kind of man who curses his father and does not bless his mother. (BITTER) 12 There is a kind who is pure in his own eyes, yet is not washed from his filthiness. (HYPOCRITICAL) 13 There is a kind—oh how lofty are his eyes! And his eyelids are raised in arrogance. (PROUD) 14 There is a kind of man whose teeth are like swords and his jaw teeth like knives, to devour the afflicted from the earth and the needy from among men. (ANGRY, VIOLENT, REACTIVE). (Proverbs 30:11-14, emphasized words are mine)

This passage describes a particularly calloused, rebellious, bitter kind of man. I have met a few men like this in my life. Hardened by many past hurts, they carry an unusual, deep-seated bitterness. And bitterness always springs up, causes trouble and defiles many (Hebrews 12:15).

If you don't understand them at the core, you are completely baffled by their behavior. There reactions are so different from yours that you are stunned. You will react in certain ways until you realize, ""Oh, I see, this is the kind of man described in Proverbs 30 ... the bitter, hypocritical, proud, violent man,"" and deal with them accordingly.

If you see this man properly, you can evaluate him as God does and respond to Him with the truth, yet grace with which God always responds. You will realize it is not against you that he rails, and your heart will have pity on Him and seek to share the gospel with Him, knowing that it is the only thing that can help him.

Forgiveness for such a man, even if his attacks are directly against you, will come easier. You will have no need to take revenge when he lashes out at you for you realize it is coming from a deep root in his soul. This understanding (and your response) does not excuse his behavior, but helps you understand it and respond spiritually, not humanistically.

I have been thinking this week about a man that is exactly like this that I know. Until I understood him at the core, I was frustrated and angry. Now, for the last many years I have prayed for him. I had a dream one night that he had been saved and was eating at my table.

He comes often to my mind for some reason, and I am praying for him when I think of him. By God's grace, I will continue to pray for this picture to be realized in this man's heart and life.

I am not holding myself up as above him. I'm just illustrating that the Word of God has helped me understand him, and this adjustment, thankfully, changed my attitude and then behavior towards him. Before this adjustment, I was falling into anger and bitterness towards him myself!

Now I understand that, but by the grace of God, I could become just like Him.





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