Anger, Bitterness, and Cults of Personality - Purity 1199
Purity 1199 11/16/2023 Purity 1199 Podcast
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Today’s photo of a winding asphalt pathway cutting through a sunbathed late autumn forest comes to us from Fred Dimmick who shared this scene that he captured while visiting Caney Creek, near Murphy NC on Monday.
Well, It’s Thursday and I share Fred’s photo of a highway pathway because of its scenic beauty and as a visual reminder to myself and you to get on or to stay on the path of Christian Discipleship because I know how difficult that can be, especially when we forget who we are in Christ and when we let anger and temptation consume us.
Recently, I have encountered a few fellow travelers on the road to recovery who unfortunately have taken a detour into relapse and the underlying causes seemed to be very similar if not the same: anger! Or the bitterness of unforgiveness. In one case, the person involved had made the decision to go into recovery because of difficulties in their marriage. Their secret drinking was increasingly a problem and eventually, it led to an ultimatum – stop drinking or get divorced. This person chose their marriage and family and started on the shaky road to recovery. They struggled initially but soon they had days, and weeks of success and recently had reached the milestone of a full month of sobriety. But apparently last week, due to a busy schedule they missed checking into their normal meetings, but all seemed well, and they would resume their normal meetings next week. The good news is that they did go back to their meetings but the bad news is that even though they made it through last weekend and reported that it was a “good weekend” when Monday came calling the stress of the world and the spiritual forces of darkness rushed in to drive them into despair and into relapse and they are currently struggling with the question of do they want their marriage and family or do they want to be “free to drink”. After a month of success, they are right back to square one – asking the questions that should have been resolved, from day one.
But let’s give them some grace. Recovery is not easy. Changing the way you have lived for so long is not easy. Having the “rules” changed later in life doesn’t seem fair. And let’s be honest, this “compelled” or “coerced” entrance into recovery is not the best way to find success. From day one, I have encouraged this person to choose recovery for themselves, and ideally as an expression of their faith – a natural outflowing of your decision to live for God and follow Jesus, because if we only choose to sober up because of someone else, because of the negative relational consequences our drinking has caused, we will end up resenting the very person we made the decision to go into recovery for. “I can’t drink anymore because of “THEM”!” or “Can’t I just have a few drinks?!!? Can’t I be free to do what I want!?”
No, you can’t. We can choose what we want but we are subject to those choices. Choose to sin, choose to suffer, as the old adage goes.
Also, the fact that the past clearly demonstrates that, no, you can’t just have a few drinks, more often than not you get drunk, and you do things that cause problems.
Also the fact that you continually go back to the bottle shows that you are a slave to it. That’s not “freedom”, That’s bondage. Real freedom is being able to choose to become the person God created you to be. A person who solves problems and loves others, not a person who causes problems and drives people away.
So standing up for your selfish right to get drunk and making the people you love suffer through it is not the life God wants you to have. He wants you to be free.
Another relapse that happened recently was driven by unforgiveness and bitterness. This person was in recovery and had a betrayal befall them – leading them to relapse and to be placed in rehab for a month. While in rehab, they listened to good counsel and made the decision to forgive the person who had betrayed them and resolved to stay in the relationship. They went home and everything was good again… for a time. But then, I saw this person share a social media post whose content highlighted the desire to seek revenge. It was a movie clip from a Ben Affleck movie where he enlists a friend’s help to not ask questions and just to agree to go with him to “go hurt some people”. I knew that was a bad sign and sure less than a week later they relapsed and have broken relationships with the person they had “forgiven” in an angry outburst that has caused collateral damage to their children.
With forgiveness, we need to forgive from the heart and take people off of our hook and put them on God’s hook, and not seek revenge. Forgiving from the heart means never bringing up the person’s past offenses and using them against them again. Also forgiving from the heart is a conscious decision that will need to be made and recommitted to as some of sin’s consequences are delayed and we will have to deal with some fall out from the past as we go into the future. So we have to choose to forgive and keep on forgiving in some cases. This person didn’t continue in forgiveness. Instead, they entertained thoughts about revenge, and it led to relapse.
In both cases, the magic elixir of alcohol that was supposed to soothe their hurt and calm their souls drove them into hurting themselves and others. Instead of putting out the fires of anger, it was like they threw gasoline on the smoldering anger and bitterness that was just below the surface, despite their outward façade that told the world “everything is just fine”.
So what do you do?
Well you go back to God, always. You ask for forgiveness and resolve to follow Jesus in the pathways of peace. Instead of isolating yourself in your anger, you study His word to renew your mind and you talk to Him in prayer to receive wisdom, strength, and healing. You start walking and talking with God and follow Jesus’ example. You forgive from the heart, and you embrace the truth that addiction to anything is NOT Freedom and that you believed a whole pack of lies to think that drunkenness, gluttony, or sexual immorality were “good things”.
God will lead you out of the darkness, but you have to choose to follow Him freely and to adapt his righteous, forgiving, and loving ways more and more each day.
When you repent and start living as the Christian you claim to be, the Lord blesses your path and even though it may be difficult and frustrating at times the consequences of walking in his ways will lead to good.
Romans 8:28 (NKJV) says
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
God has called you to His purpose: to live a simple good righteous life that represents His kingdom – to be more and more like Jesus. And when we walk toward that purpose, God works all things together for good to who? To those who love God! – So love Him and follow Him out of the darkness of anger and the bitterness of unforgiveness and find peace that comes from living with and for God.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.
( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )
This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Church, Communion of the Saints.
1 Corinthians 1:10-17 (ESV)
10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers.
12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”
13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,
15 so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name.
16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)
17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
Today’s verses fall under the fourth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Church, Communion of the Saints.
4. Keep the unity of believers; don’t follow men, but Christ.
Today’s verses highlight the fact that division can even happen in the “church of Acts” and that we are not to follow men, but we are to follow God.
Christians are supposed to display the fruit of the spirit – peace – but when we put our allegiances into a person or a system that causes division rather than in God and the truth of His word that should result in peace and love, we know we have gone astray.
As the Lord would have it, Crossexamined.org’s, John Ferrer shares a blog post this week that talks about “Personality Cults” – where even Biblically based Christian gatherings can be subverted to the following of “the head man” – a narcissistic charismatic leader that rules their flock with a “lone wolf” approach to decision making, inflicting vindictive punishments on those who don’t follow their edicts” showing us the dangers of putting a Pastor or Minister as the Lord of your life rather than following Jesus. I am sharing the link to Ferrer’s article on the blog today if you want to check it out and to examine whether or not you may be in a “Cult of Personality.
So as today’s passage says – ”there be no divisions among you” and “seek to be united in the same mind and the same judgment” that makes Jesus the One and Only Lord of your life.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we are sharing from A. W. Pink’s – The Arthur Pink Anthology - a collection of A.W. Pink’s tracts brought together in one book and dispersed here on the blog for your encouragement.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available online for free as a PDF at many sites, but printed copies of collections of A.W. Pink’s books are available for purchase wherever Christian books are sold.
The Arthur Pink Anthology – 6
Christian Fools – Part 3 of 8
Yes, but there are many Calvinists who equally come under the rebuke of our text. They believe in the sovereignty of God, but they refuse to believe in the responsibility of man. I read a book by a hyper-Calvinist only a few weeks ago, by a man whose shoe-latchet the present speaker in many things is not fit to stoop down and unloose—a man of God, a faithful servant of His, one from whom I have learned not a little—and yet he had the effrontery to say, that responsibility is the most awful word in the English language, and then went on to tirade against human responsibility. They cannot understand how that it is possible for God to fix the smallest and the greatest events, and yet not to infringe upon man’s accountability—men themselves choosing the evil and rejecting the good—and therefore because they cannot see both they will only believe in one.
Listen! If man were nothing more than clay in the hands of the Potter there would be no difficulty. Scripture affirms in Romans 9 that man is clay in the hands of the Potter, but that only gives you one aspect of the truth. That emphasizes the absoluteness of God’s control over all the works and creatures of His hands; but from other Scriptures we learn that man is something more than lifeless clay. Man has been endowed with understanding; man has been given a will. Yes, I freely admit that his understanding is darkened; I fully allow that his will is in bondage; but they are still there; they have not been destroyed. If man was nothing more than a block of wood or a block of stone, it would be easy to understand how that God could fix the place that he was to occupy and the purpose that he was to fulfil; but, my friends, it is very far from easy to understand how that God can shape and direct all history and yet leave man fully responsible and not infringe upon his accountability.
Now there are some who have devised a very simple but a most unsatisfactory method of getting rid of the difficulty, and that is to deny its existence. There are Arminians who have presented the “free-will” of man in such a way as to virtually dethrone God, and I have no sympathy whatever with their system. On the other hand, there have been some Calvinists who have presented a kind of fatalism (I know not what else to term it) reducing man to nothing more than a block of wood, exonerating him of all blame and excusing him for his unbelief. But they are both equally wrong, and I scarcely know which is the more mischievous of the two. When the Calvinist says, All things happen according to the predestination of God. I heartily say Amen, and I am willing to be called a Calvinist; but if the Arminian says that when a man sins the sin is his own, and that if he continues sinning he will surely perish, and that if he perishes his blood is on his own head, then I believe the Arminian speaks according to God’s truth; though I am not willing to be called an Arminian. The trouble is when we tie ourselves down to a theological system.
Now listen a little more closely still. When the Calvinist says that faith is the gift of God and that no sinner ever does or can believe until God gives him that faith, I heartily say Amen; but when the Arminian says that the gospel commands all who hear it to believe, and that it is the duty of every sinner to believe, I also say Amen. What? you say, You are going to stand up and preach faith-duty-duty-faith? I know that is jolting to some of you. Now bear with me patiently for a moment and I will try and not shock you too badly. Whose is the gospel? It is God’s. Whose voice is it that is heard speaking in the gospel? It is God’s. To whom has God commanded the gospel to be preached? To every creature. What does the gospel say to every creature? It says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” It says, “Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” It says, “The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” God commands, not invites. God commands every man, woman and child that hears that gospel to believe it, for the gospel is true; therefore it is the duty of every man to believe what God has said. Let me give you the alternative. If it is not the duty of every sinner to believe the gospel, then it is his duty not to believe it—one or the other. Do you mean to tell me it is the duty of an unconverted sinner to reject the gospel? I am not talking now about his ability to believe it.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship