Several years ago, I held a grudge against particular charismatic leader whose name shall go unnamed. I (thought I) ‘knew’ that he was coming to town on a certain day to speak, and, as the day approached, I made it a priority to ‘remember’ that he was coming and to explicitly ‘not go’ to where he was preaching. You see, back in those days, I normally attended a monthly preaching event, hosted by the FGBMFI (Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship). This month, it was going to be such and such a speaker … or so I thought! As the day approached, I determined I wasn’t going to go. Now about three days before the event occured, I got terrifically ill with a fever that left me completely bed-ridden. I mean, this thing was serious. I couldn’t even get out of bed! Not only that, but, guess what? The same fever hit both my wife, and my son, as well (there were only three of us back then). We were totally stricken, and essentially helpless to do anything but the faintest things, such as get up to go to the bathroom, and brush our teeth, and just plain lie around and sweat out this aweful fever!
As the first day turned into the second, I sensed that the Lord was trying to deal with me. As the head of my household (according to Scripture) I had sown a very bad seed: the seed of bitterness. Let me say it clearly and may there be no mistake about it: God hates bitterness as much as he hates anything else! Let’s put it succintly, in the words of Scripture: “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer” (1 John 3:15a). Plainly put, I was sitting on the wrong side of the fence! I was bearing a grudge, and the word of God said that I was a murderer! My reward was plain! If I was going to nurse a grudge against this man of God (for he was, and is, a man of God, and a leader in God’s kingdom), then I was going to get my just reward! The fever not only latched itself onto me, but also onto my wife and son! And I was at fault. I had sinned by not blessing this man with my mouth, and my heart, and my prayers. Instead, I had decreed that he was not worth listening to (not to say that I had to go and hear him speak; it was the attitude first and foremost that was the problem).
On the third day of the fever — that was the Friday when I thought he was going to be speaking — I noticed that the fever began to relent a bit around 5 or 6 pm: just in time to go to the meeting, if I wanted to! It seemed like I was over the worst of it and was starting to come around! It was then, I think it was, that somehow (by phone, I guess) that I found out that I had been mistaken and that the man that I thought was going to be speaking on that night was actually going to be in town a month from then, and not on that night at all! On that night, another speaker was speaking. I’m not sure exactly what my reasoning was in the end, but I decided that I was not well enough to actually go and hear this speaker speak on that evening, so I ended up not going to hear him speak (I think in fact, God was indicating that I could actually go and hear him speak, but I missed out on that one).
Later on … I guess it was a week or so later, I remember driving in my car and stopping and confessing my sins to God — how I had been bitter against this man and held a grudge against him. Then I began to pray for him; a man that had a lot of spiritual responsibility with the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in Canada. Suddenly, something new began to happen: I began to love this man, from my heart. The next month, he came to speak in Ottawa, and I had the opportunity to hear him speak! Praise God, I had a wonderful heart-felt respect for this man of God at this meeting, and continue to bless him in my heart, with absolutely no grudges whatsoever against him. All this happened years ago, and I am just passing this along to you as a reminder that bitterness can cause problems, and that our leaders really do need our prayers — not our criticism. As I myself found out (the hard way), God will discipline those who hold bitterness in their hearts, and that without partiality.
“See to it that no one fail to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ spring up and cause trouble, and by it the many become defiled”. (Hebrews 12:15)