The Exposure of Bitterness!

Matthew 5:21-24 (TPT) says, “21 You’re familiar with the commandment that the older generation was taught, ‘Do not murder or you will be judged.’ 22 But I’m telling you, if you hold anger in your heart toward a fellow believer, you are subject to judgment. And whoever demeans and insults a fellow believer is answerable to the congregation. And whoever calls down curses upon a fellow believer is in danger of being sent to a fiery hell. 23 “So then, if you are presenting a gift before the altar in the temple and suddenly you remember a quarrel you have with a fellow believer, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar and go at once to apologize with the one who is offended. Then, after you have reconciled, come to the altar and present your gift.”
Everyone has to confront this thing called bitterness at some point in their lives, and maybe even several times, but it bears evidence for the need of inner healing! It takes a greater courage to ask someone for forgiveness than it does to give an offering at the altar where you can be seen. Our need for reconciliation is humbling our pride! We have to come to the realization we are not enemies, but we need each other. We are the family of God, regardless of how diverse we really are!
Bitterness is that poison you drink, believing it will hurt someone else. It is rooted in unforgiveness. If Jesus could tell Peter to forgive His brother 70×7, and God can forgive us of the multitudes of sins we have committed, which can be covered by His love, then why can we never forgive someone else? Here are scriptures which testify of people needing an inner healing: 
1) 1 Samuel 1 – Hannah prayed for a son, and the bitterness of her soul led to pouring out her soul to the LORD. Eli, the high priest, perceived she was drunk, and if he would have prayed for her in that sense he would have missed it entirely. It is not about praying for the outward need, but the inward one! God would reward Hannah with Samuel and more children to follow.
2) Judges 16:16 – Samson’s soul was vexed (grieved) unto death, but through repentance, even his death resulted in the greatest victory he had achieved in his lifetime. There are some mistakes we make that we can never correct or change, but how we repent and move towards God positions us to still fulfill His will and purposes for us.
3) 2 Kings 4:27 – The soul of the Shunnem woman was vexed. She had received a prophetic word concerning a child, and God gave him to her. Now, she was grieved because this promised child died unexpectedly. She returned to the word of the LORD, laying her promise on the bed where prophets dream, and it resurrected with new life!
4) Job 27:2 – Job’s soul was vexed, but he was delivered the moment he prayed for the friends who did not comfort him but rather blamed and persecuted him! His family was restored, and he received double. What would happen if you did the same thing? Is the breakthrough you need for your soul rooted in reconciliation?
5) 2 Peter 2:8 – Lot’s soul was vexed, effected by the lawlessness (which is a spirit of antichrist) around him in spite of his righteousness, but the intercession and obedience of Abraham led to his deliverance from a city that was destined for destruction by the hand and voice of the LORD.
Everywhere you read concerning bitterness or grief, there is a resolve in scripture. Oftentimes, it is in the need of reconciliation, whether it is between two people, God and us or within ourselves between our soul and spirit. It is time we begin to open up our hearts to the Holy Spirit and yield to His direction and conviction so that we let go of bitterness and do whatever is necessary to reconcile what has been broken! There are a couple of examples of reconciliation in scripture:
1) Jacob and Esau
* Esau was betrayed by Jacob twice, once for selling his birthright for a pottage of stew and the second with Isaac pronouncing the blessing on Jacob rather than Esau, even though Esau was the oldest. This formed a wedge of bitterness that lasted for what is believed to be twenty years (Genesis 31:41).
* In Genesis 32, Jacob had wrestled with the angel of the LORD to the breaking of the day. It effected him in such a powerful way that he would walk with a limp for the rest of his life. He would now with a name change, from “Jacob” meaning “thief” to “Israel” meaning “prince of God”. The purpose of this identity change was not just to break those old labels off of his life, but also to prepare his heart for reconciliation with Esau in Genesis 33.
2) Paul, Barnabas and John Mark
* Barnabas’ name means “son of a prophet”. He was known for being the son of encouragement and operating in the ministry of reconciliation. When Paul received salvation and desired to unite and minister with the apostles, Barnabas brought him before them and defended him, explaining his miraculous conversion (Acts 9:27). In Acts 11:22-29, Barnabas, being a man full of Holy Ghost and faith and who added many to the family of God, went to find Paul. Paul had been driven home due to persecution, and Barnabas refused to let him stay when there was work to be done. He brought Paul to Antioch to instruct the people there due to the mighty revival taking place. This was where we were first called “Christians”.
* Barnabas and Paul would be sent on their first missionary journey by the Holy Spirit. The prophets and teachers there fasted and prayed for them and sent them on their way. They also took with them John Mark (Acts 13:1-5). However, John Mark would leave and go home to Jerusalem from Pamphylia, more than likely due to homesickness. When it came time for the second missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to take John Mark, but Paul wasn’t having it! The contention was so great that Paul would take Silas while Barnabas would take John Mark and each would go on separate missionary journeys. Scripture doesn’t really detail Barnabas and John Mark’s trip, but in reality the gospel spread to other places had they not went separate ways (Acts 15:35-41).
* They would later reconcile, as Paul would call for Mark, who was seen in his eyes as profitable in the ministry (2 Timothy 4:11). He would commend Barnabas for being like him and not causing a strain on the church for support financially, but they worked to support themselves (1 Corinthians 9:6).
* Had Barnabas not defended Paul and brought him before the church, he would have not offered at least 13 books of the Bible. Had he not been a mentor to John Mark, we might not have Mark’s gospel for us to read today. Do not undermine the ministry of reconciliation and the power of encouragement! They are important and necessary for the body of Christ!
Reconciliation becomes easier when we see each other’s value in God’s sight and the kingdom of God! It is time we lay our pride aside and see people and things from a heavenly perspective! It not only changes things, but it changes our world!