I recently read an interview that CBN did with South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem. In my mind she was one of the more sane governors in the US during the recent pandemic because she was one of the few who didn’t lock down her state because of Covid.
And today her state is still economically intact and the virus is on its way out as herd immunity sets in.
I didn’t realize she was believer at the time, but it makes sense now, because she respected her citizens and didn’t try to grab more authority than she actually had.
But during the interview she made an interesting statement as CBN turned from the Coronavirus to the current state of affairs in the US.
“But what I found in our culture today is people love being offended. And that is wreaking havoc on our culture and our way of life in people’s hearts.”
Noem said that we are living in a society where people love to be offended. CBN described it as being addicted to offence?
And we are seeing it manifested in our cancel culture, where people are digging up things people said or did, sometimes years ago, in an effort to have them thrown off social media and even lose their jobs.
Even if people apologize and admit their error they are still dealt with harshly, because people are apologizing, but nobody is forgiving.
The writer of Hebrews talked about it, but used slightly different terminology. He referred to it as a root of bitterness:
15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;Hebrews 12:15 NASV
Notice how the writer adds that this root can defile many. When individuals have a root of bitterness inside them, they begin to affect others who in turn become bitter as well, as they pick up this anger second-hand.
So what is the source of this root of bitterness and anger inside people?
I think a root of bitterness develops when we fail to forgive.
The Apostle Paul tells us there is nothing wrong with being angry. Anger is an emotion and sometimes things happen that cause us to be upset. Paul says getting angry is not a sin, but he adds this important warning:
26 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil [a]an opportunity.Ephesians 6:26-27 NASV
Paul tells us not to let the sun go down on our anger. In other words, whatever or whoever caused the offence, we must deal with it. We must forgive and we need to do it quickly.
But when Paul says don’t let the sun go down on your anger, I don’t think he is using this phrase as a metaphor encouraging us to forgive quickly. I wonder if he intended it more literally, meaning if we go to sleep still angry, it gives this seed of anger a chance to grow into a root of bitterness.
And then Paul adds this warning that it gives the “devil an opportunity.” Satan can use this root of anger to spread his evil as well as we are susceptible to Satan’s mind games (2 Corinthians 2:11).
There are a lot of angry people in America today. Maybe you are one of them.
If you have a root of bitterness, you must go back to the incident, offence or trauma that initially caused it. These are often years, sometimes decades old, and you need to forgive those involved.
Often the source of this bitterness root can be traced back to resentments we hold against our parents. We need to forgive and sometimes it requires us forgiving multiple times.
But Governor Noem has not given up on the US. She told CBN:
“So I am hopeful that, while we are seeing some challenges, while we’re seeing things happening in America that break our hearts every day that God will find a way to reveal a healing process that really will bring us together and help us make more progress towards loving each other and seeking after God again than we’ve seen in decades.”