The story of Abraham and Sarah from the Bible best illustrates the point I want to make today. If you need a Bible brush-up on the topic, it’s in chapters 15-18 of Genesis.
Sarah, why would you have your husband sleep with your servant? To me that seems absurd!
What married woman would even think of that?
Bitterness. When we hold onto unforgiveness, it takes root in our lives. Then bitterness in our attitude occurs. This grieves away from us the Holy Spirit, the voice that leads us to stay on God’s path. Without that voice we become desperate; when we can’t see where we’re going, it’s easy to take things into our own hands and get off track.
“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you…” (Eph. 4:30-31).
Sarah lacked trust in God, and she became bitter toward him. Bitter that her womb hadn’t opened. (In those days, women got their glory from having children–especially a boy, because that meant their family line would live on.) She was angry with God and wouldn’t let it go. This was a problem.
Satan led her to believe a lie…
Sarah said to Abraham, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children” (Gen. 16:2).
This is an outright lie. In the chapter before this, God promised Abraham that he would father the nations (and it only makes sense that Sarah knew about this by now). God puts a husband and wife together, so nothing should have led Sarah to believe that in order to fulfill His promise God would have Abraham commit adultary. A little later, God says He isn’t choosing Ishmael (the product of the affair) but instead establishes the covenant with Isaac (Sarah’s son) like He had planned all along.
Sarah’s faith was blinded by bitterness. Her desperate decision sadly didn’t only affect her. Abraham’s two sons shared–and through their descendants still share–this same bitterness. (Ever wonder why the Muslims and Christians fight all the time?)
Also, notice how her bitterness causes Sarah to treat her pregnant servant so harshly. And she even manages to blame Abraham for the whole thing. Wow! I would not want to be around that house during all of this.
Question for myself
Is there something in my life I’m repeatedly angered about that shows bitterness? Does my loose speech and thoughts about particular people, such as my husband, prevent God from speaking to me to help me make right decisions? How will this affect my marriage and other things?
Today, forgiveness is in order.