August 26, 2022

Dear Brethren,

Have you ever been wronged by another human being? Probably, your answer is “yes,” as mine would be! Let’s face it, undoubtedly, every person in the Church of God has experienced an emotional hurt of some kind in their lives, by others. It can happen to us in the Church, just as it happens to people in the world.

Of course, not every offense is intentional, but obviously some are. There are two ways to handle “wrongs” or “hurts” as Spirit begotten individuals. One way is to use God’s Holy Spirit as your guidance. The other way is to allow a “root of bitterness” to develop. I guarantee you there’s no spiritual future ahead with the latter choice.

I was reading a book entitled, Bible Illustrations: Book 1, compiled by Ruth Peters. It had an excellent illustration I’ll share…

Many Christians are like the woman who had been bitten by a dog and was advised by her physician to write her last wishes, as she might succumb to hydrophobia. She spent so long with pencil and paper that the doctor finally remarked something about how long the will would be. “Will!” she snorted. “I’m writing a list of the people I’m going to bite!”

That story is not real. But, it does show us how persons can get so involved in their own hurt feelings, they lose sight of God’s perspective.

(19) For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.

(20) For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.

(21) For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:

(22) “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;

(23) who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; (I Peter 2:19-23).

Allowing ANY “root of bitterness” to develop over wrongs committed by others does not hurt the “perpetrator.” In the end it only hurts the person who is bitter. So often, it’s virtually impossible to win over an offended brother or sister. Harboring such bitterness over any offense will seriously jeopardize a person’s future, if it isn’t changed!

“A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle” (Proverbs 18:19).

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root o bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;” (Hebrews 12:14-15).

“If anyone declares. ‘I love God,’ and yet hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who will not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot possibly love the God whom he has never seen. And we get this command from him, that he who loves God is to love his brother as well.” (I John 4:20-21 – Moffatt Translation)

I’ll end tonight’s letter with what Mr. Armstrong wrote in March of 1943. His message is still relevant today.

We are all just ONE FAMILY. A large family, in one sense — yet just a very “LITTLE FLOCK” in another. And so this is just “among ourselves” within our own intimate family in Christ Jesus, having fellowship with one another in and thru Him and His love. I wonder how many of us realize HOW precious is that fellowship He gives us — and the love of Christ which must be the BASIS of that fellowship! Let us not fail to treasure it highly, and GUARD IT ZEALOUSLY, lest some root of bitterness be permitted to enter in and rob us of it.

Have a wonderful Sabbath everyone!

Your Brother in Christ,

Gary Liebold

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