As I held my cup of coffee in my hands this morning, enjoying the warmest part of my morning routine, a phrase ran through my mind. A cup of bitterness. You see, I don’t add sugar or creamer. Over the years I have adapted to the bitter taste, to the point that I just drink it black. It isn’t that I enjoy it more, it is just that I have become accustomed to it.
So as I pondered about the cup of bitterness, I realized that earlier this morning I had thought of a friendship that I had watched crumble. Two people who had once been extremely close experienced a rift in their relationship, and to my knowledge it was never repaired. I followed the trail of thoughts, asking the Lord to search me if there was any bitter root in me. If all of this was on my mind already, I figured there must be a reason.
My mind drifted back to about six years ago when I had experienced bitterness and its effects in my own life. Of course I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was even taking a toll on me physically. I had been hurt by a handful of people, talked about in a way that my heart began to harden. Later through the Lord’s diagnosis, I had found that I had become numb. The hardening of my heart I guess had been a reflexive defense mechanism to protect what was left of my feelings. I was bitter, and it was affecting every area of my life.
If you have been hurt, you have been offered this cup to drink. I think of the Lord carrying His cross to Golgotha, then being offered wine mixed with gall to drink. Gall—bitterness. Was He offered this to help numb Him to the pain? He was placed in a situation that would easily cause us to want to drink in the bitterness. Undeservedly experiencing betrayal, denial, accusations—yet He refused to drink it after tasting it. He refused to be bitter. I love Him so much.
I thank God for showing me and leading me to repentance when I dealt with this, and I trust Him to help me should the cup ever be offered to me again. I challenge you to search your heart and make sure that this poison has not entered your bloodstream. If it has, the antidote is the sweetness of God’s Word. We counter depression with His joy, and we counter darkness with His light.
Just like drinking black coffee, we can become accustomed to the bitter taste of life—but that doesn't mean we should.
Lord, Your mouth is sweetness itself. I choose to live off of every Word that proceeds from Your mouth. You are able to heal, and You are able to keep our hearts soft even through pain. Please heal the Body of Christ of bitterness. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Song of Solomon 5:16