Video Teaching: WARNING: Bitterness Kills!
Barry and Lori expound on a teaching from Bill Johnson regarding the importance of identifying and removing bitterness from one’s heart.
BARRY: Morning, everybody.
LORI: Hi, everyone. Good to see you.
BARRY: We can’t see you.
LORI: We can’t see you.
BARRY: It’s good to be seen.
LORI: But it’s good to be with you. We actually want to just kind of recap on Bill’s message this last Sunday. It was just so powerful on the whole thing of getting – first of all, being aware of bitterness, and then getting rid of it. And we really feel like there – you know, when God gives a timely word, there’s an anointing to be able to take that and be able to deal with it in your lives. So, this is about kind of helping you appropriate this in your life.
BARRY: Yeah. I think all of us can identify with things that come into our life that pull us or tempt us to be bitter and live in unforgiveness. And you know, he quotes from Hebrews chapter 12 which says, “Don’t let any root of bitterness spring up inside of you because many will be defiled.” And of course, our ministry, Nothing Hidden Ministries, focuses on relationships with married couples and with singles wanting to be in relationship. And the examples that Bill used – just about all of them, if not all of them, had to do with married couples, where the defilement that comes through bitterness is going to probably be most potent and affect the person you’re closest to – your spouse, your boyfriend/girlfriend, that kind of thing. And it just defiles. And I actually looked up that Greek word ‘defile.’ The literal meaning is to dye with another color or to stain. So, this defilement is actually like coloring a person,
BARRY: yeah, and then changing the way they look to you – not changing the way they actually are or they look to other people, but the bitterness causes them to look different to you. And he ends up talking about – our pastor, Bill Johnson, in his message, which by the way, it was last Sunday – I don’t know what all you said to them already.
LORI: I’ll remind them at the end.
BARRY: Yeah, I really recommend you get it.
BARRY: It’s not necessarily the most feel-good message, but it’s a really important message. And so, our pastor was saying that, and he showed from the examples of bitterness how bitterness keeps us from seeing the change in a person, even if they repent; the bitterness will keep us from seeing this change. I think the coloring that bitterness puts on them, the stain that it puts on them – we will continue to see through those eyes of bitterness until we deal with our bitterness, until we’re willing to forgive. And I just think this is so critical, so important for married couples, for people in a relationship, because it will really – our title is a little dramatic, “Warning: Bitterness Kills,”
LORI: It does.
BARRY: but it can really bring death to a relationship. It can destroy the closeness, the intimacy, in a relationship, in a marriage, but with other people, with friends, even more distant relationships as well, and really defile. Other meanings of the word defile are “to pollute, just contaminate, to soil,” and it just makes everything bad, you know, what bitterness does.
LORI: Yeah. When I was thinking about this this week, I realized there was a gentleman that we know; he is a prophet, and I remember him telling this story. He had another friend who was a prophet that came over, and they were having coffee together. And they were catching up, and they were seeing how they were doing. And this other prophet looks at our friend – I’ll call him our friend; I know him, but I’m not a friend of his. But he looks at him, and he says, “You have bitterness lodged in your back.” Like, he could see it; he could see it on him. And his back – he’d been miserable; he’d been in pain. And he and his wife were in – you know, I think they were pastors at the time, too. So, there was a lot of sheep biting going on; you know, that happens to pastors, and I think that’s part of the story that happens to just prophets, too. But there was a lot of pain and hardship.
BARRY: If anybody’s not familiar with that term, sheep bite, it’s the people in the congregation, people that follow you that criticize and say negative things and stuff like that that ends up hurting a person.
LORI: Yeah. And so both he and his wife were in a hard spot, and when this other prophet – he says, “Let me just pray for you,” and it left. And he repented of it; he got rid of it. He had to actually repent of the bitterness. And we’re going to give you a prescription at the end of this to help you know how to get rid of this. But when he did, all of the pain left. And you know another thing, after repentance they said, “We ended up asking the Lord to help us be able to see the things that come against us and be able to just be sad, you know?” And he says, “We’ve turned into crybabies, you know, my wife and I.” And I thought that was so cool, what I know now, but looking back on that, that was really saving them from being disconnected, because they were standing against this together. They’ve repented, but then they were just, you know, grieving. Sometimes we need to grieve this stuff that comes against us, you know, to be able to really get rid of it. Otherwise, bitterness will set in, and then it just wants to control and take over and influence how you see the person you love.
BARRY: Yeah. I’ve thought about bitterness in my own life and what it tries to do. Bitterness justifies negative, critical speaking of other people. And so, it will label people as, “Oh, they’re just selfish,” or, “They’re just so full of pride; they’re all about themselves,” or, “They’re just so uncaring,” whatever it may be. And I think that’s one of the ways that bitterness works to color another person and label them. Now they are this selfish person; now they are this prideful person. And we just see them through that lens. But bitterness is speaking to us, and it really separates us, and it puts a distance and justifies the separation and division.
LORI: It separates us from God; it separates us from others, and it separates us from the ones that we love.
BARRY: Yeah. And so, God just can’t be in that, and He can’t – it keeps Him out and keeps Him from being able to bring the reconciliation, the forgiveness. And of course, one of the biggest antidotes for bitterness is being willing to forgive, fully forgive, from your heart. And as I thought about this, too, in my life, I thought, “I’m not aware, and the Lord hasn’t showed me anybody that I’m holding bitterness against.” That whenever I see it, I try to forgive. But I will say this. Sometimes it’s hard; it requires multiple times of saying over and over, “I forgive them, Lord.”
LORI: Seventy times seven.
BARRY: Yeah, and more.
LORI: A million times a million.
BARRY: And you know, letting go of hurt that’s come from another person and even going to the place of blessing them and asking God to help them.
LORI: Yeah, that’s good.
BARRY: One of the things I do in my mind is to say, “God, they will be in a better place, I will be in a better place, the world be in a better place, if You really help them.” And it really helps me to think, “I really want them to be blessed. I really want them to be helped by You, Lord.” And to say that with my heart, from my heart. And yet still sometimes doing that, it takes time, because the pain is still there. Sometimes the things continue to happen that bring pain. And so, even forgiving and letting go, for me, and blessing, sometimes doesn’t fully get rid of all the pain. And that’s a process, too, of being able to just grieve that, grieve the pain with the Lord as Lori talked about.
LORI: Yeah. There was a lady that came up after Bill’s message, and I was on the prayer line, and she came up for prayer. And it was so cool; there was such a beautiful conviction on her. You know when the enemy brings stuff, it’s condemnation, and you can’t get past it. But you could just see it in her eyes; she was so ready to get free of this bitterness that the enemy had given her but the Lord was now exposing. And this was actually not any bitterness against her husband; it was against a situation and some people that they were involved with. And she realized that she needed to deal with that. And so, she prayed, and then as we got rid of that, the Lord just started showing her some bitterness that she wasn’t aware of. And that was incredible to see that, and you could just see the lights go on, you know? And because she understood what bitterness was from the message and the anointing that was on that – you guys really have to watch this message – but it set her up to even let Holy Spirit show her some things that she probably wouldn’t have seen had she not heard that message. And she ended up – the Lord uncovered this assignment from the enemy against she and her husband to bring them to odds, to keep them from carrying out some very important things that the Lord had been talking to him about. And it was just brilliant the way the Lord put the whole thing together. So, did you have any more you wanted to say before I give a prescription?
BARRY: To me, another real important takeaway was, Pastor Bill Johnson said something like this – when we really become aware of our own need for forgiveness, it makes it a lot easier for us to forgive other people.
BARRY: And even that can be a challenge. I grew up in the Catholic Church and kind of learned my relationship with God was kind of like, “If I do well, I will be accepted.” And I wanted to be accepted, so I tried to live well. One of the negative things that can come out of that – and obviously the positive thing is doing good things, doing the right things – but one of the negative things that can come out of that is kind of a sense of self-righteousness that, “I did it on my own; I am good on my own.” And that can make it harder to recognize my need for forgiveness. But I’ve actually prayed about that, and I’d – if this is something that would help you to get to that place of being ready to forgive, of saying, “God – ” not in a negative – God doesn’t hate us, but He wants us to know His goodness. And one of the ways He lets us know His goodness is by letting us know His quickness and readiness and completeness in forgiving us. But in order to recognize it, we have to recognize that, well, we do have things, significant things, that need to be forgiven.
BARRY: And so, I’m asking God to show me that, to help me to have more compassion, more grace to forgive. And then the one other thing to me was a message like this – and I’m not sure what happened in the second service when it was streamed, but in the first service, he ended – Bill kind of made a comment about, “Well, that’s kind of as positive as it gets.” Bill made a comment like that. And I thought, “This felt really positive to me. It felt really encouraging and edifying.”
LORI: It was hopeful.
BARRY: It was. And I think the difference is – and this is one of the things I love about our pastor, Bill Johnson, is he’s able to present things with a spirit and grace from the Lord. He brings truth and love together in a way that it isn’t condemning.
BARRY: And even something that requires maybe correction or a response on our part, it comes with hope and with expectation of good. So, it can be a really positive thing even though it may not – bitterness itself is a negative thing in our life.
LORI: Yeah. It’s timely. It’s a timely word, and it’s for now, and there’s grace on it. I believe that the Lord is exposing this more than we’ve ever seen it. As you were talking, I was just realizing that another thing – bitterness goes with resentment; it goes with unforgiveness. It also goes with offense. And I think that’s been the biggest thing we’ve seen in our relationship this year, needing to stand against offense that can then, you know, <sound effects>. There’s so many things that allow bitterness to start growing in us. But here’s what – can I give my prescription now?
BARRY: Yeah. It’s time. Here comes the prescription. Get ready to go to your pharmacy.
LORI: We want you to get ahold of Bill’s message, Sunday, November 25th , and watch it together with your spouse, but I would say watch it with friends and family because we had a really good time discussing it. We always have a good time discussing it, too. And there’s just – you know, you just want to get this as much in you as you can. You want this to become a way of life. You don’t want to live with bitterness, because it really ultimately does want to kill. And so, do that – plan a night, do a potluck, do something fun, but watch that together. And then after you watch it, just put on some soaking music and ask the Lord to speak to you. Let Holy Spirit show you, just like He showed that precious lady who came up. She was so beautifully convicted, not condemned. The Lord doesn’t want to condemn you, but He wants you to be free. And this is a sober warning. I really believe this, because the Lord doesn’t want this to be in our lives. But ask Holy Spirit to bring up whatever bitterness that you’re aware of. And then even go farther – what this lady did. Stay in it and say, “Lord, show me anything that I’m not aware of or anything that I haven’t wanted to see.” And then write it down. And then go around and just lead each other through – it’s really repentance, you know, and you can do that very easily using the 1-2-3 Skidoo tool in our tool app – Nothing Hidden Ministries, you can get our tool app, the 1-2-3 Skidoo tool. Or you can just pray through repentance and breaking agreements with it, and then asking the Father to remove this from you, because He definitely will do that.
BARRY: Yeah. So we bless you to choose forgiveness, forgiveness from your heart, to be able to really know and believe that that will be the best thing for you. It’ll bring freedom to you. And in that forgiveness and letting go of bitterness, we bless you to bring the fragrance of God and the color of God to other people so they don’t get stained by anything that would defile them, any bitterness that would defile them.
LORI: And we bless your spirits to long to have this as a way of life, to be able to take care of this and to – I ask, Father that You would release discernment to recognize when bitterness is lurking and trying to get our agreement.
BARRY: We bless you in Jesus’ name.