Coffee on the road, this morning. It’s not like I expected it to be as good as the carafe I make for myself every morning, but it’s never a good idea to start off your day with a bad cup of brew.
I sip on it, and I realize that no matter how much I tried to cover it up, the bitterness still breaks through. I mean, this coffee is so strong, that creamer, the stuff that’s meant to make it just a little better, has virtually no effect on it. And, the sweetener, though working hard to eliminate the bite of it, is nothing more than an aftertaste.
Thinking…even a bad cup of coffee can get you to doing that. So, as the car rolls, it’s ride smooth, and comforting, the java , my go juice, takes me back to a sermon I heard on yesterday.
I visited another church. Now, this was a big deal for me because I’ve been taught, my whole life, not to visit other churches without the permission of my pastor…which I did not have. But, a friend of mine was getting baptized. And, I felt it was a big deal for her. And, this girl has been there for me through everything! So, I went. And, though I was filled with joy to see her, after all we’ve been through, after all we’ve supported each other through, to see her go down in His name, was awesome. But, when the Word came, shortly thereafter, I was sitting in the pews, but mentally, on the floor!
Faith.. not only tested, but put on display! No, the preacher didn’t blast me out, or single me out in any way, but I was definitely exposed. You see, as he delivered the Word, part of a series on “Gratitude”, he spoke about bitterness, and it’s effect on relationships.
“Bam!” I thought to myself. And, the more I listened, the more enlightened to some things I became.
“Bitterness is a spirit”. As I listened to his explanation, listened to him explain how letting something, or someone, plant that seed of bitterness into your heart, can cause you to be “skeptical” of everybody else, I sat straight up in my seat. And that “skepticism(and, I paraphrase here) can eventually cause you to go off on, curse out, or bite the head off, somebody who has noting to do with something that transpired, what, ten years ago?”
“Hmmm!” I sip on this bitter cup of coffee, and I wonder how I must’ve come across, must still come across, to everybody with whom I have encounters. You see, like this cup of coffee, I am strong; almost too strong. And, to some people, that strength can come across as totally bitter. I mean, I can be harsh; truthful to a fault. I’ve learned, and earned my way through a series of bumps, and bruises. So, I find it safer to shoot from the hip, then everybody knows, where everybody is coming from, and there are no surprise punches. But, to those who haven’t been there, those who haven’t fought the same fight, I would seem as bitter as a tree-ripened lemon.
So, I’m in church, The Marketplace Movement, and you could have bought, and sold me for a quarter! I’m honest with myself, you see, so I know this Word is for me. Over the years, I have snapped some people into tiny, little pieces of themselves. I’m not exactly the one to come for…unless I send for you. So, I’ve tongue-lashed some of the best, and won. And, this preacher see, he is, through the Word, showing me tiny glimpses of myself hurting people, killing with my mouth piece, and I was convicted! I would never, deliberately, hurt anybody. So, to hear that I have, with great intention, hurt a whole slew of people, just because I was not in the mood for their mess at whatever time, it just broke my heart. When God comes for me, I back down, and takes my beatin’!
The bitterness of this coffee…I’ve talked myself into believing it’s what I deserve. “What you put out into the world is what you get back!” I hear that phrase all the time. Today, it has meaning. I mean, so what it has some lightener, and sweetener, in it? It’s still nasty. And Lord, forgive me, I can be, too. I realized, in that old-school church house, with a modern day swag, that no matter how kind, and sweet I can be on most days, that is a very average thing. Kindness, like coffee, can be found everywhere. But being nasty, putting a bitter taste in somebody’s mouth, that’s going to be remembered…and not fondly.
I felt my heart cry, and I felt it’s willingness to change. But, God had to show it to me first. Then, I had to accept that it was there; it became a real concern for me. And, I needed that jolt. Sometimes, your intent to move forward does not come with feet that are willing to comply. What you’ve gone through will have you stuck; feet encased in concrete. And, your spirit will be so stubborn that you won’t even realize you are not moving. Oh, Yes! Just when you think you have it all figured out, God swoops in, the perfect messenger, and says “Hold on Ms. You’ve got a little something else to do” . He is that awesome! He wants us to be better, I’m telling you! The things that we bury, the things we think that are forgotten, the things that will keep us out of the Kingdom, He shows to us, and gives us a chance to get that thing right! Why wouldn’t you serve a God like that? The ways that He speaks to me is so phenomenal! So, I took the chastisement. And, like this coffee, it didn’t go down smooth; it didn’t taste good. But, it served it’s purpose… I’m awake!