LITTER-BUGS. What do you do when you meet a litter-bug? Do you enjoy seeing the landscape covered in litter? Very few things in the natural world are more repulsive to me than to see litter scattered over an otherwise beautiful landscape. Now don't mis-interpret...I could not (by any stretch of the imagination) be called a "neat-freak". But I do hate to drive down the highway and see empty cans, and bottles, and carry-out lunch boxes from KFC, Mickey D's, and a myriad of other fast food places. I never allowed myself or my family to throw things out of the vehicle onto the landscape. When my children were young and we traveled I kept a litter-bag in the car and taught them never to throw even the smallest items out of the car window. Now I love the outdoors. Hunting and trout fishing have been a part of my life from my earliest years. I didn't see that much litter as a child. Yes, there was some...but nothing like what I have seen lately. Maybe because the old timers didn't have the throw-away items we have today but I do not remember seeing so much litter when I was young. Lately I've pushed back several miles into some of our beautiful national forests, thinking, 'maybe this is virgin timber' when suddenly down the trail my eyes would fall on a rusting coke can. I can't explain what that does to me but it's a little like eating a lovely meal and finding a waitress' hair in the food. It's distasteful. Un-pleasant. I want to gag. I DON'T LIKE LITTER-BUGS!!
BITTER-BUGS. Now bitter-bugs are far more distasteful than litter-bugs. With litter-bugs, they never caused me to want to spread my litter. In fact, I have spent hours picking up other people's litter in places I had never been to before, and carrying it out of the woods to my pickup and taking it to a dumpster. No - not everytime - but a few times that has happened. Now - the BITTER-BUG is a different story. I find that when I'm in the presence of a bitter-bug I am prone to join him/her in their bitterness. I have been bitten by the bitter-bug and it caused me to spread the bitterness Once I felt that a fellow-minister who was over me in the Lord had lied to me. I was hurt. I began to tell it to others. It grew as I talked. Soon I was pouring out poison into any ear who would listen to my tale of woe. One of my fellow-ministers stopped me in mid-sentence and said, "Fred, I don't want to hear this!" It was like a slap in the face. I finished the task I was working on at the time and went to the woods to pray and repent and soon felt I had the victory. I'll never forget - soon after that I was complaining bitterly about some of the members of my church to one of my pastor friends and he stopped me and said, "Fred. I have to tell you something. You are never going to be successful in this church nor any other church until you learn to love your people!" It was a shock to me. I realized I still didn't have the victory over that critical attitude. Oh how I have thanked God many times over for that encounter and the repenting and praying it caused me to do.
I DETEST BITTER-BUGS because they put poison in your spirit. I love them, but I don't like the wailing and woes of bitterness they cause me to endure. Unlike litter on a landscape which cannot grow in and of itself, bitter thrown out on a spirit will multiply! No wonder the Scripture says in Hebrews 12:15 "Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;" I do not claim mastery of the subject yet, but (God being my helper) I am resolved not to be bitten by the BITTER-BUG! Therefore I do not listen long to them. I do not ask them questions in an effort to gain more knowledge of their "juicy" causes for gossip. In fact I'm going to do what Paul recommended to the Ephesian Church in Ephesians 4:31: ?Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:"