There is a sin that destroys our joy on even the most perfect day.
This sin can cause us to feel annoyed by our baby’s coos and blind our eyes to our warm homes, cute children, hard-working husbands, and the countless eternal blessings given to us by God.
Though it starts out microscopically small, it can grow until it has blocked our vision of every good gift that we were meant to enjoy.
And because of the limited contact and swinging hormones of Stay-At-Home Moms, I think that this sin is one of the the most common sins we struggle with.
It starts out with someone doing us a little wrong – and the next day, (left alone to our thoughts and our fussy baby) we let that little root of indignation take hold.
Later, as we sweep the kitchen floor or unload the dishwasher, we start thinking about everything we want to say to that person.
(We know we shouldn’t say any of the mean things we are thinking about saying, but left alone to ourselves, we start to pride ourselves in how we will ‘show them.’)
And in that pride, we don’t want to give up our ‘little’ sin. We want that person who hurt us or – MORE TEMPTING – hurt someone we love to ‘be punished.’
And, honestly, WE would like to be the one who punishes them – preferably in a way that makes us look smart and that person look dumb.
And so like the dog returns to its vomit, we continue to return to that wrong in our minds – each time letting it grow and letting our view of ourselves grow too.
The sin is bitterness.
Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.
And this single sin can take a holy Christian mom, walking in the light of God’s love, and “defile” her testimony – bringing “trouble” – as it has for “many.”
Yet it is a COMMON struggle among Christian moms!!
Recently I was part of a private Facebook page thread in which one of the moms mentioned that she’d been back-stabbed by family over Christmas. Within minutes, 28 other moms said that they too had been hurt by family during the holidays.
We have all been hurt.
The temptation for bitterness will come.
And when it does come, here are some things to remember.
1. Remember that the Struggle is NOT the Sin
When we are hurt, we will struggle with bitterness, but the struggle is NOT the sin. It is only when we CHOOSE to let it fester. When we CHOOSE to toy with the ‘get even’ scenarios in our mind that it starts to take root in our hearts, and we sin.
Don’t let yourself think you’ve lost the battle – when you have not!
2. Fill Your Mind with God’s Word
I’m POSITIVE that with a house full of maidens, there would be some lady-gossip going on behind the Proverbs 31 woman’s back – and I have a hunch that dealing with merchants means she gets ripped off once or twice.
However, the Proverbs 31 woman opens her mouth with what her mind was full of.
Proverbs 31:26 “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
We become what we think about.
When we allow our minds to be filled with the wrongs we’ve suffered, we become more like the people (or worse – our perception of the people) who have wronged us.
I do not want to be the woman who always has a criticism and who constantly hurts others because my mind is too often on the hurts I’ve endured.
Bitterness really CAN defile grace-filled living!
3. Fear God. Not Man.
Psalm 111:10a The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
Do you want to know how to look at a painful situation?
Don’t start there.
Spend some time looking at God.
-Think of His character and how He shows mercy and forgiveness to you and to all who call on Him.
-Think about His eternal plan in which this painful situation is comparatively tiny and short-lived.
-Think about the many, many blessings He has given you – salvation, eternal hope, spiritual promises, purpose, freedom…
Only THEN – look at the situation.
See it from His eyes. See it as something that He, in His omnipotence, has under control.
Give it to Him.
Rest in Him.
Move your focus from the situation to Him – which is right where your focus belongs.
What gives the Proverbs 31 woman her strength to not get bitter at gossipy maidens, deceitful merchants, and husbands who are busy ruling in the gates and not home enough?
Proverbs 31: 29 “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
That’s what we want for ourselves, sister. We want to be described as women who fear the Lord – not women who ‘get back’ at those who hurt us.
Let Him define us – and not our circumstances.