Bitterness in the Bible? It’s not what you thought it was

This post is Part Three of a larger series on the Biblical concept of bitterness. Parts One and Two were published earlier this month, covering the “root of bitterness” in Hebrews and the “gall of bitterness” in Acts.

Update October 2016: The topic of bitterness is addressed at length in the new book Untwisting Scriptures that were used to tie you up, gag you, and tangle your mind, which you can read more about here.

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griefFar and away the most common use for the Biblical words translated “bitterness” Continue reading “Bitterness in the Bible? It’s not what you thought it was”

The “gall of bitterness” in Acts — it isn’t resentment

In this series, I’m addressing the concept of bitterness in the Bible, how it is used to shame and blame victims of abuse who are seeking help from their churches.

The first post in this series addressed the “root of bitterness” in Hebrews, explaining how it isn’t unforgiveness, as it’s often presented to be, but is something else instead.

Update October 2016: The topic of bitterness is addressed at length in the new book Untwisting Scriptures that were used to tie you up, gag you, and tangle your mind, which you can read more about here.

 

Continue reading “The “gall of bitterness” in Acts — it isn’t resentment”

The “root of bitterness” in Hebrews–it isn’t unforgiveness

 This post is part of a much larger project  exploring the Biblical concept of “bitterness,” looking at all the occurrences of the Hebrew and Greek words as they’re used throughout the Bible.

This is important, because the accusation of “bitterness” is often used to shame and blame and silence victims and survivors of abuse. (I’ve been listening to many sermons and reading articles and books to that effect.)

I believe the Bible makes it clear that bitterness definitely doesn’t always mean what we’ve been led to think it means.

Note October 2016  Untwisting Scriptures that were used to tie you up, gag you, and tangle your mind, has devoted a chapter to the truth of the “root of bitterness,” reworking the information in this blog post and adding many quotations, both from those who teach it as a tool of shaming and blaming those who have been oppressed, and from those who have understood it to mean what is presented here.

Continue reading “The “root of bitterness” in Hebrews–it isn’t unforgiveness”

How much of a day of rest should Sunday really be?

When we left my Independent Fundamental Baptist roots (not because of rules so much, or a particular bad experience, but because in our study of the Bible, some of our beliefs had changed so fundamentally that we no longer fit), in searching for where we belonged in the world of Christendom, we ended up in a Reformed Baptist church.

Reformed Baptists, with their peculiar brand of legalism, quite different from Continue reading “How much of a day of rest should Sunday really be?”

Should we refuse to talk about the sins that are done in secret?

dark roomIt is a shame to even mention what the disobedient do in secret.

It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret.

It is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.

The things that they do in secret are shameful even to mention.

The thing that they do in secret is an abomination to mention.

That’s five different translations that represent a dozen or more translations of Ephesians 5:12. Continue reading “Should we refuse to talk about the sins that are done in secret?”

What does real repentance look like?

Jesus cried out, “Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

A couple of years ago I posted on Facebook a question about the Greek word translated “repentance.” (It’s metanoia and its variants.) Yes, I admit, it took me a long time to get back to all the links and ideas people sent me, but here I am again, studying repentance.

It’s because three things happened at about the same time. First, I was praying for pastors and other Christian leaders (the ones who have treated and counseled sexual abuse survivors as if they were pariahs) to repent about their wrongdoing. Second, I’ve been praying for revival for a long time, and in the context of that, having a discussion with a Christian leader about whether or not repentance is necessary for salvation. Third, I’ve been studying II Corinthians, where Paul talks about repentance in chapter 7.

I always used to hear repentance being taught as a change of mind. That very sterile, academic definition vaguely dissatisfied me. It seemed to accompany the academic, intellectual acceptance of Christ embodied in the “sinner’s prayer.” Continue reading “What does real repentance look like?”

“If you died tonight, what would you say to God to get Him to let you into His heaven?”

I had opened the front door to find two women standing there. I think they may have introduced themselves, and possibly told what church they represented. But then one of them said this line. This memorized line.

My first thought? What a confrontational thing to say!

My second thought? This is what it feels like to be on the other side of the door. Continue reading ““If you died tonight, what would you say to God to get Him to let you into His heaven?””