Bitterness and Age

Cheyenne Evangelical Free Church, where I have the privilege of serving has continued to go through Hebrews, last week being in Hebrews 12. One of the verses the stuck out to me was verse 15 which says, “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” It reminded me of an experience I had at Culver’s earlier that week when I noticed an elderly couple sitting near me who were complaining about everything they ordered. Having worked at a fast food place I know how difficult it can be to keep all the customers happy. I one time had a guy order French Fries at McDonald’s, then come back an hour later complaining that they were cold. It seems to me that as people age they continue to become more and more bitter. Either everything has gone so well in their life that they expect it to continue to be that way so everyone around them needs to continue to fulfill all their wants and desires or life has been so hard that they continue to expect nothing but the worst, neither of which attitudes is godly.

By God’s grace, there are some exceptions to this rule, and I can think of no one better than my grandma who makes this clear. She has been a widow for almost 25 years and has lived with cancer for over a decade, yet she continues to serve in her local church body and continues to visit her local nursing home to visit her friends. Despite her loneliness she continues to serve pray and strengthen her local body. That’s the way it should be!

Where does this “root of bitterness” stem from? I think it often comes from a lack of contentment. Paul says in Philippians 4:11 “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” How many of us can say the same thing? How many of us can continue to encourage, support and set an example in our life as we continue to age? Titus 2 paints a brilliant picture of the way the church should work. The older should be teaching the younger to be self controlled and to “teach what is good.” We younger people in the church need the influence and support of those who are older so that we do not fall in to the same errors that the previous generation did. I hope and pray that as I continue to grow older I do not let bitterness rule my life, but instead that I continue to serve as God gives me the strength to do so.

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