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Pit of Bitterness
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“I dare you to eat it!”

I was in the third grade and we were studying different types of seeds for science class. The teacher gave us a variety of fruits and vegetables to look over. My friend Ricardo and I chose to dissect a peach. After removing (and eating) the sweet flesh of the fruit, we washed and studied the spiny pit. With more effort, we split the pit and discovered what looked like a little white almond inside. “I wonder what this tastes like?” I mused.

“I dare you to eat it!” Ricardo exclaimed. Just then a few of the girls turned to watch what I would do. Wanting to make an impression, I popped the seed in my mouth and crunched down on it. In a split second I turned and spat it out into a sink and quickly rinsed out my mouth. It was the bitterest flavor I had ever tasted in my life!

Actually, the peach and almond tree are related. Peach seeds do contain a small amount of cyanide, but not enough to hurt you (unless you ate 100s of them). Some people use them as a flavor in cooking, which actually breaks down any toxic substances. I haven’t been tempted to consume pitch pits since the third grade, but they have served as an excellent reminder of a Bible verse I once memorized to help me in my family relationships.

Sour Attitude

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29). To prevent such hurtful speech, he adds, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice” (v. 31). A bitter spirit holds onto resentment toward another person to whom you feel wronged. It is unwilling to forgive and seeps out in harsh, sarcastic comments that wound. It’s marked by more than a sour attitude.

A bitter person is led to malice—they want to payback the other person. It’s one of the most destructive attitudes in a marriage and will eventually lead to the complete destruction of your relationship.

Paul says to “get rid of all bitterness.” Spit it out quickly. Don’t savor resentment toward another person. Many people hesitate to set boundaries or share how they feel hurt by someone else’s comments or actions. Instead of being upfront, they retreat into bitterness. The festering pain begins to build like a volcano and can blow up a friendship or marriage.

The bitter seed of a peach prompts me to discard all harsh thoughts and feelings toward others that lead to “unwholesome talk” that can “come out of your mouths” rather than what is “helpful for building others up according to their needs.” How can this happen? Paul concludes, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (v. 32).

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By Curtis Rittenour. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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