Written by Mary Carol Poggemann
God has a lot to say about the people who we eat with, those that we spend time with, our associates, our co-workers, and our friends. He cautions us to be careful and to “consider diligently” what is before us; but, that caution doesn’t apply just to the food before us, it also extends to the ideologies that are before us.
Proverbs 23:1-3 (KJV) - When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.
Have you ever sat down to dinner with someone who started out friendly and cordial; someone you thought a friend; but by the end of the meal, you were sick to your stomach? You were not sick because of the food set before you; you were heart sick because of the poison that spewed out of your friends’ mouth during the meal.
Discontented people try to make others as miserable as they themselves are. They tell you things you ought not to hear, they spread their malice like butter on the bread of your life, they seed your food with their hidden agenda. They share the bitterness in their hearts and hope that you will share their misery and help them plant their seeds of discontent.
The unhappy camper may want to “vent,” or share a “prayer request.” She tells how much she loves poor-so-and-so, but she believes you should know thus and such... Then, before you even realize what is going on, doubt creeps in where none was before, suspicion takes over, and the next time you see poor-so-and-so, that malicious gossip pops up its ugly head and your realize that your relationship with poor-so-and-so is damaged.
Sadly, you just don’t see poor-so-and-so the same way anymore. You realize that the food was fine, but the meal was tainted. You weren’t invited to enjoy the table of Christian fellowship; you were invited to eat the poisonous bread of bitterness, anger, and deceit. We just don’t need to tear down the people we love!
Beware the hidden agenda! Your “friend” may try to make you feel special because she is sharing this information with you. He may try to mask gossip by telling you that you have a “right to know.” They may tell you it’s a “secret” and that they are only sharing it with you... really.
Maybe she really is your friend. Maybe you really do care about her. Maybe she just needs some compassion or some help. Nevertheless, I ask you to seriously consider this... Your friend may need more help than you can give. Her bitterness and desperation may spark enough doubt to send you into deep depression.
Pray for your friend, but SAVE YOURSELF! Do not associate with bitter, angry people, bent on tearing others down; they will eventually wear you down and take you down in the process.
I heard a saying... “Bitterness is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Don’t let your friend make YOU that “other person.”
My prayer for today... Dear Lord, Thank you for your blessings and help me have a thankful spirit. Help me to be compassionate to those in need without becoming a victim to their desperation. Help me love them without falling victim to the poison of bitterness.