Here, in excerpts, evangelist Dwight Smith delivers some of the standard fundy fare on the oft addressed topic of bitterness. (Because if you really loved Jesus and were busy winning souls you wouldn’t have time to notice what jerks your fundy brethren are)
Discussion question: how exactly does one “plunge their hurt beneath the blood”?
86 thoughts on “Preaching on Bitterness”
I DO have terminal cancer. How dare he compare terminal cancer with bitterness? Unfortunately, many people with cancer do turn bitter, but I’m not one of them. Although if I was in his church, maybe I would get bitter!
I’ve got to second this.
How DARE he say being “bitter” is like having cancer?!!?
What an ignorant, arrogant twerp!
My problem is that bitterness, anger, etc need to be DEALT WITH. It needs to be talked out and if possible, the situation rectified.
These things do not go away by simply not thinking about them, the wounds are there and manifest themselves in ways such a suicidal tendencies, depression, violence, and more.
oh, wait….that is ‘wordly, demonic, psychology.’ We can’t have that! All you need is a passage from the Bible, a prayer and TA DAHHHHH you are cured!!
Let’s say that I am alive today inspite of ‘a Bible passage and prayer.” I know of others who aren’t :/
Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
Not the best message, but bitterness is a problem with us who have been burned by fundyism.
He forgot a point: You don’t need to be bitter when people aren’t loyal to your church, college, denomination, etc.
Oh, never mind, I guess that is acceptable. In fact, you can be downright hateful, scream at the top of your lungs, and threaten them (all for the greater good). Sigh!
Excellent point… 🙄 🙄
Darrell, your initial comment cracked me up! I like your style. Yeah, fundy preachers preach against bitterness and “a critical spirit.” That’s a hint to show you you are wrong for even considering criticizing them. If you criticize, you’ll be disobeying God! So, don’t! They are definitely NOT into feedback!
Love your site!
“Not the best message, but bitterness is a problem with us who have been burned by fundyism.”
I agree completely. It’s taken me years to tone down my bitterness, and it does still show up even now.
Definitely something I need to keep working on.
Actually, Hebrews 12:15, “Heb 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; ” is talking about apostasy, not unforgiveness.
The writer warns of “failing the grace of God,” which often is interpreted to mean professing the grace of God but not having the substance of that profession. In other words, the writer is warning them to beware of a false professor among them (who apparently even believes himself to be in the faith), and that person who has not really apprehended the grace of God but professes it, is the root of bitterness that has sprung up. That person brings trouble and defilement. The writer goes on to talk in the next verse about a fornicator or profane person (like Esau) among them. He’s still warning them against this “root of bitterness.” Like Esau, this person has a birthright and yet despises it and instead loves the appetites of this world.
He’s actually warning them by alluding to them as a crop, and warning them to beware of a poisonous weed springing up among them, a profane unbeliever who professes well but will corrupt them.
Yes, unforgiveness is bad and dangerous, but that’s not at all what Hebrews 12:15 is even talking about.
Part of me respond to this type of preaching. I don’t appreciate it and i don’t like it, but it still gets to me sometimes.
@ BASSENCO – Excellent, excellent point! Thank you! One of the problems with Fundamentalists is that they take everything in Scripture at face value. They see a word in a verse and they automatically think they know what it means. So, thanks for clarifying this passage.
Also, I’d like to respond to something that the preacher just touched on in this segment. Do these guys ever consider that the reason that some kids “throw away their faith” once they go to college is that the Fundamentalist approach really doesn’t reach people? It doesn’t teach them to have a faith that is truly their own. Of course, to get to that point a person has to start questioning things ….. and we all know what the Fundies think of that!
read many of the early comments. it is implied bitterness is not a sin…point is bitterness is a sin! 🙂
Good point, Bass. My point is that emotions aren’t sins. Never have been.
morgan – you have terminal cancer?? I am so sorry to hear that. How are you holding up? Do you have young children?
It occurred to me while watching this that this style of preaching — one statement right after another after another after another — doesn’t give the listener time to think deeply about what is being said. It’s like rapid-fire guilt bullets of “why aren’t living up to my standard?”
“rapid-fire guilt bullets” with no time to process what is being screamed at you in just the angry bitter spirit they are preaching against… I’m no longer signing up for that kind of crazy! And when he talks about people leaving the church being bitter “oh I know there are times when God leads…” yeah and the fundy preacher always gets to decide why the people left… 🙄
As some mentioned above, preachers are always mentioning women letting themselves go. As someone who tried to be the good Christian wife and mother by putting the world on my shoulders with homeschooling a large family, homemade bread, etc., etc., I’d love to see men try to take all that on while looking gorgeous at the same time! ha. Then they could go to church and be told that they should dress modestly, your heart is more important than what’s on the outside, etc. I’m surprised some overworked, confused woman hasn’t already committed violence over it!
I have NEVER heard a sermon about men letting themselves go! Just look around next time you are out and I would say THAT sermon needs to be preached. 😈 👿 Actually, neither of those sermons need to be preached.
Amen to that! (men letting themselves go, not just women)
Notswallowingthekoolaidbutstillin, (what a long handle) I remember meeting you when I first joined this board, and I wonder if you are still around, only with a new handle. At the time you were in the process of leaving your fundy church. We had just left ours. 🙂
Yes, I have never left this site, just my half-dead fundy church so I changed my name to an equally long : headnotbowedeyeswideopen.
Thanks for clarifying what the passage is even talking about. Also (to everybody) I don’t think anybody in the world thinks bitterness is a good thing. Yet people do get bitter and sometimes for very good reason. Are they then to also feel guilt over this bitterness?
Seems like it might be good to maybe experience bitterness if that’s how you feel. And at some point you can move to a more enjoyable level in your life. Or maybe not. People are free to be how they desire or need to be. If they are happy, great. If they are bitter, say something that might help them move beyond it a little or just accept that they may have a good reason or it’s just part of how their personality make-up tends to work. The one thing I think they don’t need to do is repent-like they’ve done something wrong by having a feeling. THAT gets my goat!
I hate how the bitterness accusation immediately shuts down communication. Any time someone brings up a legitimate problem or a way in which they have been hurt, the issue is ignored or discounted when the authority figure claims the person is being bitter. Thus no one listens to the original point the person was making; no one repents; no one reaches out. There is no healing – only accusations that serve to further alienate the person who brought up the issue.
I realized today that I am extremely bitter and angry towards meaning people at my fundie-light church (in the South even non-IFB churches are fundamentalists, at some level.)
Why I just realized this is because today in the service, I got furious at everyone. For the past ten years, my family has gone through hell. The entire time I was ignored, not accepted, lied to, disregarded and our family’s situation was merely skated over by the higher ups in the church.
I was standing there in church and some of the theology has started to bother me (that’s really scary to even admit.) I am becoming more Reformed and Calvinistic in my understanding of the Lord but my church seems to heavy on the works-sanctification and performance-based Christianity. Maybe not, maybe I am just speaking from bitterness. They have “celebrities” and these celebrities have “amazing” testimonies. You know, drugs/sex/immodest/independent women, etc. and then they became Christians and they have been completely transformed (which I am NOT knocking) and now life is perfect and they are becoming super-Christians. I leaned over to my fiancee and asked him why they never showcased the testimonies of people like my mother who is working two jobs and has had to deal with a drug-addicted husband. I said “it’s probably because she wouldn’t make good P.R.”
I’m just rambling but I finally realized today that I’m extremely angry and bitter with this fundamentalist mentality that I have been indoctrinated with.
Does that make me happy? Absolutely not. But I better be honest and open about my weakness. Isn’t that what God wants?
I just listened to someone (not at my church) on an audio do some serious manipulation(textual) with Hebrews 12:15. His interpretation: Looking dilligently(at yourself) lest any man fail the grace(divine help) of God lest any root of bitternes spring up in your life and defile many. it was a mesage on hurt and the danger of becoming bitter about it and it having an effect on others lives. That was just part of the message.
@Bass: I saw your post on Imprecatory Psalms.Looked interesting. Does that make you an honorary fundy cause you use imprecatory Psalms?
Maybe it makes me an Israelite king. Bet you never saw that one coming…huh? huh?
I remembered vaguely before in my previous (IFB”X”) church, the pastor preached THREE Sundays in a row on “Bitterness”.
After the series, we were all called to stay back to excommunicate a young lady who had a quarrel with a senior member (read: inner circle) of the church. I dunno what was the reason, but I suspect it could be her love for hip-hop music that made the inner-guy angry.
Anyways she left for an Evangelical Free (i.e. New Evangelical in IFB-speak) church and wanted to resign her membership. When the leadership said “NO” because the church’s involuntary-membership polity, she got angry and criticized the leadership.
I remembered how the pastor said, “She is such a bitter person, lacking the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Pray for her salvation.” Man, I can’t believe it. That was when I began to question IFBism and fundamentalism as a whole. Using topical preaching to “ARROW” individuals? Unacceptable!
And the Evangelicals and Mainliners in my country have no idea who Fundies are; they just think they’re “old-fashioned Christians” (all thanks to the fundies’ PR). Boy would they be shocked if they hear all the things on SFL.
At 0:20: “Her face was ashen, flushed from color.”
Ashen is the OPPOSITE of flushed, genius.
What you just said is the equivalent of saying “The night was as dark as sunlight on fresh snow.”
4:08: “… Are you living just for a sorry mess of southwestern chili?”
This guy is a master of the bewildering non-sequitur.
Well, not for a sorry mess, but there are some damn good messes of Southwest Chilis out there 😈
(ducks to avoid thunderbolt)
Another reply since I listened to the bitterness message by this young pompous preacher.
How many times did he say, “I have seen…” ?? It seems a lot of fundy preachers use this phrase over and over to describe a situation they’re displeased with. I got the impression this guy is a fly on the wall in people’s homes observing what’s going on. Or maybe he thinks he’s the Holy Spirit. Maybe he ought to do well to mind his own business. 😈
Apparently bitterness, or more precisely “bitter weeping” is a biblical response to great sadness.
“And when Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry.” Esther 4:1 (kjv).
Anyone can read the context for themselves. Mordecai was a wise and brave man who loved his people and stood up for the oppressed.