Friday, May 6, 2011

Bitterness is more devasting than Betrayal


Luke 23:11-12 Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. (12) That day Herod and Pilate became friends-before this they had been enemies.


Herod was the part-Jewish ruler of Galilee and Perea. Pilate was the Roman governor of Judea and Samaria. Those four provinces, together with several others, had been united under Herod the Great. But when Herod died in 4 B.C., the kingdom was divided among his sons. Archelaus, the son who had received Judea and Samaria, was removed from office within 10 years, and his provinces were then ruled by a succession of Roman governors, of whom Pilate was the fifth.

Herod Antipas had two advantages over Pilate: He came from a hereditary part-Jewish monarchy and he had held his position much longer. But Pilate had two advantages over Herod: He was a Roman citizen and an envoy of the emperor, and his position was created to replace that of Herod's ineffective half brother. It is not surprising that the two men were uneasy around each other. Jesus' trial, however, brought them together. Because Pilate recognized Herod's authority over Galilee, Herod stopped feeling threatened by the Roman politician. And because neither man knew what to do in this predicament, their common problem united them.


It is amazing to me that Jesus, even while being tortured and falsely accused, brought reconciliation between Herod and Pilate. That is a supernatural outflow of Jesus' life and anointing. He takes people who have hurt one another, who have decided to not like one another, and brings them together. Herod and Pilate had felt betrayed by one another, and that betrayal had turned into bitterness. But Jesus' life, and torture, somehow brings reconciliation to theses two rulers. That is not is supernatural! What happened in our verse today is an amazing work of the Spirit that I have missed the many times I have read this story. A wonderful testimony of reconciliation!

As I was meditating on this verse, I received my daily devotion from Pastor Richard Exley. It goes perfectly with what God's Spirit is speaking to me today, I would like to share it:

"Most abusers were victims before they became perpetrators. Because they could not, or would not, make peace with their past they condemned themselves to repeat it. And unless you choose to forgive those who have wronged you, you too will become the very thing you hate. But you don't have too. With God's help you can break the cycle of betrayal, make peace with your past and forgive those who have wronged you.

"...they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind..." (Mark 5:15)."

God wants to bring about Reconciliation in your life, but too often bitterness and resentment keep this from happening.

Betrayal is something others do to you; bitterness is something you do to yourself! Look past the hurt and you'll see that your resentment is just a roadblock to your own success.
Eliminate words of bitterness from your conversation. Don't remind others of your experience, unless it's to teach and encourage them to rise above their own.

Lloyd Ogilvie says, "The hardest time to be gentle is when we know we're right and somebody else is wrong. It's when someone has failed us, admitted it, and their destiny or happiness is in our hands. Recently a friend hurt me in both word and action. Each time we met, I enjoyed the leverage of being the offended one. At first I rejected all his attempts at reconciliation because I'd already pronounced judgment on him. My most difficult challenge now was to surrender my anger and work through the hurt.

"Finally, the Lord said; 'Lloyd, why is it so important to you who gets the credit, just so long as My work gets done?' Right then I gave up my right to be what only God could be - this man's Judge and Saviour. Immediately my heart tenderized and my attitude toward him changed."

When you withhold forgiveness, you hurt the other person, but you hurt yourself more - much more! You lose the joy of living. It hangs over you like a cloud, affecting everything you do. But when you forgive, you release peace and restoration to the forgiven - and also to yourself, and God will bring reconciliation.

If He can do it for Pilate and Herod, who had become enemies, He can do it for you! Decide today to let Him do it for you! Because bitterness really is more devastating, in the long run, than betrayal.


"Lord, thank You for showing me today that Bitterness is more devastating than Betrayal. I can't do anything about betrayal, because it is what someone does to me. But I can do something about bitterness, because it is what I do to myself. Betrayal becomes Bitterness when I allow it to "percolate" in my mind and spirit man because of self-pity, a martyr syndrome, or just plain unforgiveness. Holy Spirit today, I ask You to help me release this bitterness into Your hands. Bitterness can become a root that defiles many people, and cause many to trip over, or miss out on Your grace. I love You, people, and the eternity of my family and kids more than I love this bitterness that is building within me. Please help me Lord, to release this hurt into Your hands, and by doing that I drop the desire and plan to get even. I am free from this poison of bitterness today, In Jesus' name, amen!"