Friday, January 30, 2009

Dealing with Jealousy and Bitterness

Norman worked for a large manufacturing company. By his own admission he said, "I am from the old school and at times I am a little bullheaded." For several years he eyed the foreman job. He knew the foreman would retire at age sixty-five. Norman worked diligently and felt certain the job would soon be his. He arrived at work early, stayed late, and produced more than any man in the plant. When the big day came to choose a new foreman, though, Norman was passed over for someone much younger; in fact, a recent hire. "They brought in a runny-nose college graduate to do a man's job," Norman told me. Some of the adjectives he used to describe the new foreman and the decision are unprintable. Norman had learned the company chose to computerize some of the machinery as the old foreman retired. That resulted in the need for a man with computer training as well as people skills (which I discerned Norman lacked). Norman became jealous of and bitter toward the new foreman. His bitterness didn't stop there. He also became bitter toward the Lord. He resigned his Sunday school teaching position, asked to be taken off the deacon board, and quit reading the Bible. "How do you like those apples?" he said as he finished telling me his story. I answered his question with a question: "Norman, where is God in all of this?" I waited in silence for several seconds. Norman seemed to calm down and really think about the question. "I pushed Him out!" he finally answered. "Are you willing to invite Him back in?" He paused. Then with tears in his eyes, he answered, "Yes!" Norman confessed his sin of bitterness, pride, and desiring control of his life. He then asked the Lord to take back the ground the enemy had been given through his sin. Norman was now willing to reason scripturally. He admitted that he wouldn't fit the foreman job, but he desired the prestige, title, and power he thought it would bring to him. He could now clearly see God's protection in keeping him from getting a job that would lead to frustration and eventual failure. Norman could also see that what God intended for spiritual development the enemy attempted us use for destruction through bitterness. Norman learned a whole new appreciation for the armor of God. He says, "My favorite part is the shield of faith. It puts out those burning arrows that Satan shoots at my heart." Today Norman is serving the Lord with a new excitement because joy and peace have replaced the bitterness in his heart. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

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