Paperback, 66 pages. Published by the author, 31 Fairmeadows, Maesteg, Wales, CF34 9JL. Price: £1.
It would be easy to dismiss this unprepossessing booklet. It is only a few pages. However, for anyone who has felt, or been in the company of someone consumed by bitterness, it is a booklet that is timely. The author writes, ‘Bitterness is a deeply destructive emotion. It can develop in our spirits like infection in a physical wound. It has the potential to immobilise us in our work, destabilise us in our thinking, and destroy our relationships with other people. It can make us ineffective and useless for God’s service and could undermine the work of our church and its standing in the community’.
The issues are covered in the three main chapters of the booklet: the causes, the consequences, and the cure of bitterness. The author uses many examples from scripture, including the experience of the children of Israel at Marah, Naomi, Esau, Hannah, Mordecai, Job, and Joseph. Alongside those biblical examples, the author draws upon the experiences of Fanny Crosby, Gordon Wilson, Susanne Geske, Charlotte Elliott, and C. L. Culpepper, amongst others. However, the booklet is concise, a quick and easy read, yet one that is challenging.
It is difficult to assess how useful this booklet may be. I am sure that the author has written it with the intention of bringing some help to those who may be caught up in the dread and downward spiral of bitterness. However, as the author writes under the sub-heading of ‘How do we conquer bitterness?’, ‘The process is not easy and there are no simplistic answers and no straightforward formulae to follow’. What Young has done is to seek to provide honesty and help in tackling an issue which has received relatively little attention, and yet can be so destructive of the individual affected, and their social and church connections. I trust that it will be a help in rescuing some, and preserving other