A Root of Bitterness in Your Marriage

“I make this covenant and this oath… so that there may not be among you man or woman or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations, and that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood                                                          Deuteronomy 29: 14, 18

“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled…”                         Hebrews 12:14-15

Hello  –

Great to see you recently.  It was a terrific trip, and I appreciate your taking the time for us to see the sights nearby.  Some incredible equipment there; some of it quite different from what we have down here in The South.

I wanted to share something with you that is personal.  You know that I love you, and I enjoy seeing you and your wife.  I write this as a brother in the Lord, and a real sinner, saved only by the blood of Christ.  I am convicted of my sins on a regular basis, so I have no room to talk to anyone in the world.  But I did want to share this perspective with you.  My sense is that you have something against your wife, and that it is expressed when the two of you are together.  You may well have strong reasons for it, but it seems like a root of bitterness. 

In the Bible, a root of bitterness is an attitude that can grow in our soul.  It may start small, but it can grow, and ultimately be very destructive for all concerned.  I can speak of this because I have seen a root of bitterness firsthand, and it is like poison.  I would ask for your prayers in this regard, and will return the favor.

Four weeks ago the wife of a very good friend of mind slipped on steps going to their pool, and hit her head on the concrete sidewalk.  She was in a coma for several months before regaining consciousness.  If that happened to your wife, how would you feel if your last words to her were critical?  Sometimes we never get a second chance.

I would encourage you to reflect on this, pray on this, and ask the Lord to reveal it to you.  You are the spiritual head of your household, so I would encourage you to take charge of this – to root it out and get rid of it.  If it is something you have against your wife, then you need to forgive her for it, even if she does not ask for forgiveness.  Our nation is facing extremely dangerous times – perhaps an economic crash, WWIII, and martial law before the end of the year.  Now is the time to get right with the Lord and with our loved ones.  (I am convicted as I say this).

Finally, I would encourage you to consider the lesson from the following story:  A woman went in to see a counselor, and told him how totally inconsiderate her husband is, how he only thinks of himself, how he ignores her and her feelings, and added a list of other grievances.  She said that she had come to the end of her rope, and she wanted to leave him and get a divorce.  The counselor asked her if she wanted to get even with him.  She said “Yes!” 

So the counselor told her if she really wanted to get even with him, to inflict the most pain, she should treat him like a king for three weeks.  Just really treat him well, be very attentive to him and his every wish.  Then when she breaks up with him at the end of three weeks, his pain will be even greater.  She agreed that this was a great plan, and vowed to put it in place.

Six weeks went by and the counselor had not heard from the woman.  So he called her and asked her if she carried through on her plan.  She said yes, she had.  He then asked her if she left her husband.  She replied:  “Are you kidding?  He has responded so well to me, I wouldn’t think of leaving him now.” 

So there is power in love – the love of Christ.  And we are called to love our spouses unconditionally, just as Christ has loved us unconditionally.

Life is short.  God is great.  Walk with the Lord.

Love from Arkansas,

One Tamale Away From Eternity

Several years ago, when I was an irrigation engineer with the University of Missouri, I was invited to come and speak at a company meeting of the Gorman – Rupp Company in El Paso TX.  I had developed a tool to determine what kind of pump would be most suited to pump different kinds of liquids, and they wanted me to share it with them.  As I had never been there before, it was an adventure and I was looking forward to it.  It was a two day event, and for dinner in the evening, they took us to see the dog races in Mexico.  They served us wonderful food, including tamales and other Mexican dishes. 

Part way through dinner, we heard a great commotion a couple of tables away.  A fellow was choking on his food, perhaps a tamale, and he was not able to disengorge the food.  He was coughing violently, and his face became deep red as his movements became more desperate.

Fortunately for him, someone came up from behind him and performed the Heimlich maneuver, disengorging the food from his windpipe.  He gasped for air, and everyone in the area breathed a sigh of relief as the man sat back down.

In all likelihood, this man did not wake up in the morning with the realization that he was going to have a brush with death before the day is over.  He was close to meeting the Lord; he was one tamale away from eternity.  Unlike many people, he was given a second chance at life.

Each of us will have a last day on this earth.  Our time here will be complete, and it will be our turn to depart.  While our family and friends begin to mourn and make arrangements for our burial, I believe we will stand before the Lord – the sovereign, living God of the universe – to give an account of ourselves and our lives.

He won’t ask about our accomplishments (with which He will already be familiar).  He will ask on what basis should we be admitted into heaven.  Only if we know Jesus Christ, and have accepted Him as Lord and Savior will we be admitted into heaven.  We are all going to meet the Lord; the only question is how soon and on what terms.  We can meet Him now by repenting of our sins, and accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, or we can meet the Lord when we have died, and face eternity in hades.  The Lord invites us to join Him, but He will not drag anyone into heaven who really doesn’t want to be there, who does not want to be with the Lord now and in eternity.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

Finally, given the great challenges and profound changes our nation faces, spiritual preparation – getting right with God and seeking His guidance, His will, and His protection is imperative.  If we place our faith and hope in our finances and physical preparation, we will be disappointed, for we do not control what is happening to our nation and the world.  If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, now is the time to do so.  Colonel Stephen M. Bauer calculated that the chance that 40 fulfilled prophecies from the Old Testament were fulfilled by chance to be one chance in 1×10 to the 136th power.  (See his book “The Math of Christ”.)

Now is the time to draw close to the Lord, our refuge and strength.

Life is short.  God is great.  Walk with the Lord.

Mark Peterson