Steep & Wide
You are supposed to let tea steep 3-5 minutes. If you let it steep longer, it starts tasting bitter. If you take it out too soon, the flavor isn’t strong enough to make a change to the hot water. We can learn a lot from tea.
When was the last time you let your surroundings, circumstances, or environment cause you to become bitter? You stay focused on the hot water around you and keep steeping. It’s hard not to stay focused on it though! The hot water around you can be hurting you and causing pain. The world is filled with that! A typical day could contain more than one hot water event which could trigger depression, anxiety, and anger. This leads to a bitter life. We want to get out of the hot water or even avoid the hot water before it reaches us. This can cause stress because we feel like we need to be ahead of whatever may be coming our way. If we enter into the hot water we blame ourselves that we weren’t good enough to stay far far away from it. We forget that hot water will always reach us no matter how much effort we put into avoiding it.
The real problem with turning bitter from the hot water is that we are not reflecting Jesus. Jesus always had hot water reach Him. The Pharisees were to blame for most of the hot water. Jesus was accused, talked against, treated like a criminal, beaten, and even killed. How did Jesus respond? He loved. He didn’t talk back. His defense system included sharing truth, asking questions, turning His cheek, walking away, forgiving, and making peace. He never steeped too long in His many hardships that He faced.
Hardships will always come our way since we live in a sinful world apart of God’s intended, perfect plan. We chose it. Knowing that they can’t be avoided and accepting that is the first part of entering into the steeping process. While you are steeping in the hot water, remember that it’s temporary. It may last a bit longer than 3-4 minutes, like tea, but God is there to take you out. He never keeps you in longer than you can handle.
During the process of steeping, you may want to give up. React to the steeping positively because when you look back, you just might realize you left a pleasing flavor to those around you. You might even realize that it helped you personally become more filled with flavor instead of bitterness. God will help you become filled with the flavorful response you desire.