Making Other People’s Lives Bitter
“the Egyptians…made their lives bitter”
Exodus 1:12-14 (ESVUK)
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice”
When we read the stories of the Exodus, it’s easy to distance ourselves from the Egyptians and to relate to the trials of the Hebrews. We prefer to identify with the oppressed rather than with the oppressors.
In the New Testament Jesus often challenged his listeners to examine themselves in how they related to others. He would denounce the religious leaders for being oppressive towards the common people. Also, he told everyone, including you and me, not to be angry and that he had come to set at liberty all who are oppressed.
I wonder whether sometimes we are guilty of making others’ lives hard and difficult so that they become resentful and bitter. Maybe in the home we are too harsh towards our children, or towards our spouses. Or in the workplace we are more of a tyrant than someone who engages in God’s Spirit of gentleness.
The apostle Paul was well aware of the human tendency to hurt others and make their lives a misery, in a similar way to how the Egyptians treated the Hebrews. Therefore, he reminded his readers, put away all bitterness that they harboured within themselves or that they caused others.
Let’s accept others in the kindness of our Lord, and not reject them through oppressive attitudes or actions.
Help me, Father, not to oppress others in any way but rather to accept them and show kindness to them. In Jesus’ name.
Study by James Henderson
About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations in the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.