The King's Gardeners Ministries
Reverend Dr. S. L. Gardner
Spokane Valley, Washington US
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Hebrews 12:14-15 "See to it that no one misses out on God's Grace, that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble and thus contaminates many…." (cjv)
Personally I think this is one lesson we need to learn not
just for our partners and ourselves but also for our children. In the family
of a Stander our children have ample opportunity to learn either judgment
or forgiveness by the attitude we demonstrate concerning our partners. If
we judge our beloved prodigals as evil sinner's hell bent for destruction
that bitter judgment will directly affect our children. Our own heart attitudes
will condemn not only ourselves but also our children.
God's laws apply to our conscious actions, known and performed outwardly, but also to what is lodged in our hearts, repressed unknown and unexpressed. Once formed, judgments must bring results. Bitter roots, not brought to the cross must defile. Bitter roots are perhaps the most powerful negative force in our lives, bringing destruction not only to us but to all those around us.
There is a depth and power to our judgments that become a driving force in our lives. Recurring patterns of trouble or areas of continual destruction are a clue. The power of bitter roots comes from the unchangeable laws of God, which cause us to reap in kind what we have sown. Bitterroot judgments are far more powerful than negative expectations, (bitter root expectancies). I will explain that comment later.
Judgments operate by God's laws; whereas repeated incidents form patterns of expectancy, which operate only on the psychological level. Both judgments and expectancies rob us of the abundant life Jesus came to give us.
God has written balance and retribution into the laws of the universe. Because we have all made judgments that we are due to reap; we draw to ourselves those people who are best designed to deliver that reaping. A wife will most likely do to her husband what he bitterly judged his mother for, and the wife will most likely reap through her husband the very thing for which she judged her father.
When as a couple we begin to discover hidden things about one another, it is painful. For Standers it is worse, we begin to see our part in the mess we are living and in most cases can't find the acceptance that things can change from our covenant partners. They have already made the decision that they married "the wrong person". God did not design our partners to make us comfortable but instead as a wise friend of mine puts it, "we are designed to grind!" Our beloved triggers whatever we have stored in our hearts. This is one of the reasons Standers feel so helpless as our partners continually misjudge (or maybe rightly judge) our actions. As we take personal responsibility, taking our own sins to the cross and repenting we will enter into blessed relationships. Living this renewed life before our families will have a positive impact eventually.
Our Lord always used practical word pictures to give us the best idea of what He was trying to teach. As you go through this teaching try to picture what we are talking about as a tree.
A tree has underground roots. These are the hidden support for the tree giving it life and stability. Let's say that in a person these "roots" are habitual ways we receive nurture from God, others, nature and ourselves. Our roots also lie below the surface, usually hidden from the adult mind. Adults rationalize away the majority of what we need to conquer our own flesh. If we have bitter roots, we receive harm to ourselves.
Bitter roots or bitterroot judgments are several things. They are our sinful reactions to hurt, condemning judgments we place on other people, refusal or inability to forgive someone.
Bitterroot judgments operate because of the unchangeable laws of God, which cause us to reap in kind what we have sown. In addition the laws of increase make each repeated action multiply the "crop" we harvest for good or bad. Bitterroot judgments have the power to contaminate many as the Word of God describes.
Bitter roots are NOT the hurtful or terrible things that happen to us, nor are they the sins of those who have wronged us; they are OUR sins. They are NOT powerful enough to overcome the free will of another though they do defile or taint our relationships with others. They can change our perspective of everything that people do in relation to us and by doing that change our reactions to them.
What is bitterroot expectancy and how is it different from a judgment? An expectancy is a psychological practice of our natures. Like people who believe in Murphy's law. Some people say it this way that we draw to ourselves what we expect. Christians call them self-fulfilling prophecy. We "push" people to fulfill our picture of the way things will go. Examples, "women/men will always be controlling" or "men/women can't be depended upon" or "no one ever listens to me" or "no one ever understands me" or "I'm not lovable" or "I'm not pretty/handsome" and the ever popular, "I'm not good enough". Get the picture. We truly are what we think. What we tell ourselves will be what we are.
Several years ago it became popular to do "self talk". The problem with "self talk" is that if the negative attitude towards others or us is driven by a judgment all the "self talk" in the world isn't going to change much. It just leads to more bondage and disappointment. Self-talk can help us change our expectancies. If our situation doesn't change and we continue to "reap" the consequences of negativity even after renewing our minds then that's a good indication of a judgment.
An example of expectancy - I'm not going to use he/she man/woman in this example. Just know that the example is as applicable to men as it is to women. A critical mother brings up a man. Feeling wounded and rejected, he learns to protect his heart by withdrawing from her. His experiences with his mom form a picture of women. (This applies equally to fathers). When he marries he fears pain of vulnerability and consciously or unconsciously project his expectations onto his wife, holding her at a distance. She is lonely and appeals to him to share with her. He interprets this as criticism (whether it is or not), and pulls farther away. He criticizes her attempts to break through the walls of his heart. When she becomes a critical woman, he doesn't see his part in pushing her to fulfill that expectation. CAUTION: be careful not to "rush to judgment" here. Bitter roots do not always drive pushing to break through walls. Use wisdom or you will simply be making more judgments to add to the mess!
Here is a textbook example of how judgments and expectancies differ. Add to the man's bitter expectancy to be criticized the fact that in earliest childhood he made a powerful, condemning judgment against his mother. He soon forgets the judgment, but it has been sown as seed (with the power to contaminate/defile), which will affect him. He will reap through his wife, other women, what he experienced with his mother. Because of the forgotten nature of the sowing, the reaping may come as a surprise to him.
In a Standers situation if you find yourself doing things that are just plain out of character for you. (Absolute honesty will have to be part of this equation) you may be dealing with your spouses bitterroot judgments.
Bitterroot judgments and expectancies can be found most often in relation to our parents and spouses. They can also occur in relation to other primary people during our growing up years. Occasionally the will be found with those who are not primary.
Who is accountable? WE ARE!!! God holds us accountable for our own sinful reactions to what happens to us. We are guilty but not condemned if we bring our sins to the cross and find healing.
If you are dealing with a counselor bring these principles to their attention. Bitterroot judgments and expectancies are such common problems every counselor should check for them as routinely as a doctor checks blood pressure and temperature. Here is a rule of thumb - If you have the fruit, you have the root! (Luke 6:43-44; Matthew 7:20
NOW FOR THE GOOD PART!!! WHEW ABOUT TIME HUH?
How do we deal with these bitter roots? Through recognition, repentance and prayer! Recognition to see the patterns and discuss how they are affecting our lives and those of others. Repentance is choosing to change. Determining to stop patterns by bringing all those darn 'ole judgments and expectations to the cross in prayer. Prayer - specific, focused, Spirit-led prayer will work miracles!
PRAYERS OF FORGIVENESS - Prayers like, "I forgive you Dad for…" or "Lord I forgive my Dad for…" Then follow with "Lord forgive me for judging/resenting/hating my Dad. And forgive me for perpetuating those attitudes in my present relationships." I guarantee the Lord will forgive you. He said so! 1 John 1:9 "If we acknowledge our sins, then, since HE is trustworthy and just, He will forgive them and purify us from all wrongdoing." cjv
If we don't forgive ourselves (as well as others) we can hold our own sins to us. John 20:23, "If you forgive someone's sins, their sins are forgiven' if you hold them, they are held." Cjv
PRAYERS OF DEATH - Luke 9:23-24 "Then to everyone He said, 'If anyone wants to come after me, let him say no to himself, take up his execution-stake daily and keep following me. For whoever tries to save his own life will destroy it, but whoever destroys his life on my account will save it.'" We tear out those poisoned roots of our trees and cut off the life to those poisoned branches, (habits, attitudes, reactions and actions) by taking them to the cross.
PRAYERS OF RESURRECTION - With this type of prayer be as specific as you can. "Lord restore…" or, "Lord reverse the old pattern, (habit or reaction) and cause it's exact opposite to happen! Restore me to new life!" This imparts a new expectancy into your life.
Keep looking for "feeder roots" that might be they're trying to establish themselves as primary bitter roots. Little examples of what are described here. The Word says that little foxes spoil the vine. Song of Solomon 2:15
Continue in prayer for the Lord to reveal judgments and expectations to you. This is an ongoing discipline. It will seem overwhelming for a while but eventually you will make headway. I ask for blanket mercy to suppress the judgments while they are being revealed.
Bring to death habitual practices of thoughts, feelings and actions. Bring to life the Christ nature in you! Take every thought captive. 2 Cor 10:5 Haggai 1:5 and 7 tells us to give thought to all our ways. See the teaching at http://ShalomRefuge.com/tkgm called Merismos to learn a lifestyle principal that will set you free from being hostage to tormenting thoughts.I can tell you this is a tremendous struggle as we are faced continued memories, current actions (or inaction). Renewing our minds in the face of adversity is tough. But the reward is great.
How do we know when we are making progress? Well this is where I wouldn't look at the "big picture". When gratitude for what we were bitter about is second nature not forced that is a big clue. Of course the most marvelous "fruit" from a tree that is not fed by bitter roots is when God turns the "mess" around and it becomes our Glory in HIM!!!
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