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Tag Archives: roots of bitterness

Sin’s Impact on Mental Health

According to a 2019 article, the mental health of teenagers is at risk.  Based upon a recent study, 15% of teenagers seriously consider taking their own life.  Another 12% actually make a plan to commit suicide.  Nearly 8% of teens make at least one attempt to implement their plan.  Meanwhile, 2% of these botched attempts of suicide result in medical intervention.  This healthyplace.com piece has motivated me to contemplate sin’s impact on mental health.

For those who are living according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh [which gratify the body], but those who are living according to the Spirit, [set their minds on] the things of the Spirit [His will and purpose]. Now the mind of the flesh is death [both now and forever—because it pursues sin]; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace [the spiritual well-being that comes from walking with God—both now and forever]; the mind of the flesh [with its sinful pursuits] is actively hostile to God. It does not submit itself to God’s law, since it cannot, and those who are in the flesh [living a life that caters to sinful appetites and impulses] cannot please God, Romans 8:5-8.

According to the apostle Paul, sin’s initial impact influences minds.  Human minds serve as a bodies compass.  When minds fixate on fleshly desires. decisions gravitate toward pleasing your own body.  Meanwhile, individuals whose minds are directed by biblical principles are more likely to listen and obey God’s still small voice via the Holy Spirit.  Inside of human beings there is a spiritual gravitational pull, tugging at hearts and minds.  The hardest part of this decision making process is that sinful pursuits gradually results in minds actively hostile toward to God.

“The heart is deceitful above all things and it is extremely sick; Who can understand it fully and know its secret motives? 10  “I, the Lord, search and examine the mind, I test the heart, to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds, Jeremiah 17:9-10.

An Old Testament prophet adds to sin’s impact on mental health in the passage above.  Known as the weeping prophet after proclaiming bad news given directly to him from God, Jeremiah reveals another troubling problem.  Human hearts are deceitful and extremely sick.  Jesus expands upon this diagnosis in Luke 6:43-45.  Mouths speak out of the overflow of your heart.  Depending upon what your heart stores up inside will reflect your vocabulary, the content of your words.  Thus, anyone who holds on to roots of bitterness will negatively influence and impact your mental health.

However, you are not [living] in the flesh [controlled by the sinful nature] but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God lives in you [directing and guiding you]. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him [and is not a child of God]. 10 If Christ lives in you, though your [natural] body is dead because of sin, your spirit is alive because of righteousness [which He provides]. 11 And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you. Romans 8:9-11.

Based upon the passage above, the apostle Paul points to daily spiritual decisions, who or what are you going to live for?  You don’t have to live in bondage to a flesh that craves humanism, whatever feels good must be good.  However, those who possess any empty heart, void of any meaning have an option to choose life by becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus.  Yet, words mean nothing until you act upon your faith.  Therefore, if you are tired of feeling spiritually dead, may the power of the Holy Spirit free you from sin’s impact on mental health.

by Jay Mankus

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Wake Up to God’s Greatness

There are plenty of distractions in life.  Extreme circumstances, hardships and trials can make the mentally strong lose sight of God.  As individuals begin to question “why me,” whispers from demons seek to shift the blame toward God.  If you give into anger, emotions or frustrations, spiritual blindness awaits.  Thus, instead of waking up to God’s greatness, roots of bitterness fill disappointed hearts.

“Indeed, at His thundering my heart trembles and leaps out of its place. 2 “Listen carefully to the thunder of His voice, and the rumbling that goes out of His mouth! “He lets it loose under the whole heaven, and His lightning to the ends of the earth. “After it, His voice roars; He thunders with the voice of His majesty, and He does not restrain His lightning [against His adversaries] when His voice is heard. “God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend, Job 37:1-5.

This is what happened to Job prior to the passage above.  When friends accused Job of disobeying God, his defense mechanisms kicked in.  As observers of these events assumed Job was being cursed by God, Job made the mistake of becoming self-righteous.  Apparently, an incoming storm awoke Job to God’s greatness.  The passage above highlights how lightning and thunder magnify God’s power.

Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the [height of the] heavens, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You, [who is Your equal]? 20  You who have shown me many troubles and distresses will revive and renew me again, and will bring me up again from the depths of the earth, Psalm 71:19-20.

The Psalmist uses reflection to help individuals to meditate upon God’s greatness.  For those not distracted by day to day worries, the beauty of creation does not go unnoticed.  Rainbows, sunsets and panoramic views renew and revive souls.  If only people could let go of daily concerns, stress and worries, eyes will be opened to the greatness of God.  My prayer is that America awakes from its spiritual slumber to see and rejoice in God’s greatness.

by Jay Mankus

Doubt Kills

An arrival or occurrence of something in overwhelming quantities of water or amounts of debris highlight the magnitude of a tsunami.  This act of God can erase a beach, tropical destination or village in a matter of minutes.  Like a scene out of a chapter from Revelation, the Christmas morning tsunami which struck Thailand in 2004 devastated this region.  In the passage below, the earthly brother of Jesus compares doubt with a spiritual tsunami that can ravage souls.

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind, James 1:6.

From time to time, I will cross paths with an extremely negative individual.  Fueled by doubt, this unhealthy presence can persuade hopeful hearts to become consumed by stress, worry and unrest.  Unless this invisible force is extinguished, doubt will continue to spread, poisoning souls one group at a time.  While the initial traces of doubt may appear vague, roots of bitterness will rise up from within troubled hearts, brewing until verbal assaults are unleashed in person or via social media.

And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen, Matthew 21:21.

Jesus addressed doubt on numerous occasions with his own disciples.  These exchanges reveal his frustration as future leaders of the church became numb to the miracles performed by Jesus daily, John 21:25.  Perhaps, the words in the passage above are a call to snap out of it; wake up to the power of faith.  Using the surrounding mountains as a teachable aid, Jesus exclaims, “see that mountain over there, you can move that which stands in your way through faith.”  Yet, if doubt lingers, any dreams that you have will die.  Therefore, believe, have faith and put your trust in God before doubt kills another victim.

by Jay Mankus

Stirring Up Wars

Not much has changed since the Jets and the Sharks began their fictional turf war over a girl, Maria, in the 1961 musical West Side Story.  Today, anger, bitterness and discord have built up within human beings to create ideal conditions for dissension zones.  Good intentions often fade into the night as roots of bitterness suffocate any thoughts of forgiveness.  As a result, floodgates open up for a culture of bickering and backstabbing.

Beyond the boundaries of Super Powers, factions leave third world nations with a battlefield of broken hearts, fragile souls and shattered relationships.  Hatred has found a home, setting up shop as a spirit of division is holding unwilling citizens captive.  While once foreign, America has open its doors to this nature through reality television.  A generation of Jerry Springer and Jenny Jones viewers have spawned hits shows like Big Brother, Survivor and The Jersey Shore.  Seeking to get rich over night, individuals do whatever it takes, forsaking integrity, to achieve success and victory.

Going unnoticed by those with moral blinders on, the acts of the sinful nature has imprisoned lost souls, Galatians 5:19-21.  Selfish ambition has become their driving force, the wind beneath their misguided wings.  When you add envy and jealousy as fuel to this fire, carnage is aired daily through shows like Bad Boys, Cheaters and Divorce Court.  As long as comedy, sex and violence continue to sell, this process will repeat itself, stirring up more wars.  May God protect the innocent bystanders, caught in the crossfire of this mudslinging.  Pray the words of Galatians 5:16-18 so that this vicious cycle will end soon!

by Jay Mankus

Get Over It!

For 30 plus years, the national media has killed Philadelphia sports fans for booing and throwing snow balls at Santa Claus during an Eagle’s football game in the 1970’s.  With the eyes of the golfing world now on Merion Golf Club, just outside of center city, for this week’s 2013 U.S. Open, another story continues to drag on.  After a disappointing career up to this point, Sergio Garcia recently made an off colored remark toward Tiger Woods, trying to be funny at an news conference in Europe.  Like beating a dead horse, golf and sports analysts continue to bring this up over and over again, trying to stir up bad blood.  For now, can  everyone please move on and get over it?

In life, each individual has endured heartache, frustration and pain at least once.  Bitterness is often a natural response, left behind by someone or something from your past.  Although its true time does heal all things, scar tissue remains, brought to the surface by people, places or things.  If you fail to let go of these emotions, barriers will rise up out of the ground in the form of spiritual roots, Hebrews 12:16.  This obstacle will eat away at your soul, leaving behind division, friction and hatred toward others.  For your own good, I urge you to get over these events, Matthew 6:15.

At the conclusion of Scrooged starring Bill Murray, he confesses his sins to a live audience.  After evaluating his own life, Murray realizes that he has been a jerk, selfish and damaged by a poor relationship with his own father.  When you practice this kind of behavior, James 5:16, individuals can reclaim a sense of freedom.  Reaching this point is no easy task as thoughts of certain co-workers, neighbors or relatives may bring out the worst in you.  However, its time to bury the hatchet, to seek forgiveness or forgive anyone you haven’t been able to up to this point in life.  Whether its a former boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse or relative, please for the love of God, get over it!

by Jay Mankus

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