Bitterness can play a very important part in your emotional, mental and physical health if you let things get to you. Once you identify a stronghold in your life that is keeping you from moving forward in your relationships with other people and with God, it is important to push the delete button of bitterness. Here are action steps that I have learned to take when I catch myself falling into a downhill spiral of hurt, rejection or unforgiving attitude. It is important that we put the past behind us. Our past doesn’t determine our future no more than our environment does, however it is how we respond to our past or how we respond to our environment that does. We must take responsiblilty for who we are today, for our actions, attitude and behavior. Only we can change ourselves, not others, nor can we change others only ourselves. If you find you are stuck with the root of bitterness, learn to take control so tomorrow will be a better day and your future brighter!
The Results of Bitterness
- Bitterness is antisocial. A bitter person is selfish, inconsiderate of others, withdrawn from society, indifferent or adverse to conformity with conventional standards of social behavior. Even strangers avoid bitter people, Prov. 14:10. No one is happy around bitter people.
- Bitterness is a sign of the fragmented life, Jer. 2:19.
- A bitter person rejects Bible teaching. James 3:14, “But if you have bitter jealousy and strife, stop being arrogant and lying against the truth.”
- Bitterness shows total lack of grace orientation. A bitter person does not understand the Plan of God, let alone how it affects individuals. In Job. 9:17-18, Job’s complaint against God. “Why does God let this happen to me”, is a statement of bitterness.
- Bitterness accompanies the sin unto death, Job. 21:25.
- Bitterness motivates complaining, Job 7:11, 10:1. People who habitually complain are bitter people; they have no self esteem.
- Bitterness motivates gossip, Psalm 64:3
- Bitterness fragments other peoples lives. Heb 12:15, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by it many be defiled.
- Bitterness is self induced misery, and it produces chain sinning. Bitterness is misery to others in the periphery. But two wrongs never make a right. You cannot build your happiness on someone else’s unhappiness.
- Make a list of the persons who have hurt you.
- Next to each name, write what you needed from that person.
- Next to that, write how it made you feel when that person did not meet your need.
- In the last column write whether you think that person will ever be able to meet your need. Be honest.
- Accept your loss and grieve it.
- Ask God to help you forgive. Forgiveness is letting go of anger and your quest for revenge. Realize that you are powerless to forgive through your own strength, but God does not ask you to do something without giving you His strength and power to do it.
- Ask God to help you feel compassion for your offender. Psalm 78:38 says that God is full of compassion.
- Break the Chain
- Bitterness often runs through families: When a parent does not meet a child’s needs, that child can become bitter and is then unable to meet his or her own child’s needs. The chain can continue through several generations.
- Ask God to help break the chain with generational issues.
- Ask God to help you have pity for that person in your family who still suffers with bitterness.
- Look Elsewhere
- God will provide people to meet your needs.
- Be proactive and look for those God has provided to meet your needs.
- Join a women’s or men’s group, or look for a prayer partner.
- If your mother did not meet your need for love and acceptance, find an older woman in the church who would be willing to mentor you. She can give you the love and acceptance your mother never could. The same action is helpful in a father-son situation.
- If your husband or wife will not meet your need for friendship and intimacy, remember God is the only one that can truly fulfill what you are needing. As you give as Jesus did to your spouse as overflow, they will change to love you more.
- Love is free from bitterness.
o Joy pushes bitterness out.
o Bitterness can not coexist with peace in the soul of the believer filled with the Holy spirit.
o Longsuffering gives the ability to deal with bitterness and other troubles.
o Gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance are fruits of righteousness, which is divine good. Divine good takes the place of bitterness.
God wants you to forgive so you can be free from the destructive power of bitterness, learn to hit the delete button.
Prayer: Lord, I thank you for helping me when things seem to go wrong in my life and when I am feeling hurt or rejected. Let me learn to forgive, have pity on the person who still holds bitterness in their life. Open up our eyes when we tend to hold on and have grudges but let us find closure with your love. In Jesus name. Amen
Luke 6:37 New International Version (©1984)
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.