The truth about bitterness
- Pretending that bitterness doesn’t exist does not make it go away - we need to acknowledge it.
Ephesians 4:31-32 - “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
- Bitterness will continue to stain your life if you don’t root it out.
Hebrews 12:15 - “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled...”
- You can’t root it out in your own strength.
2 Corinthians 12:9 - “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 - “Therefore I will boast all the most gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
What does bitterness do to us spiritually?
- Bitterness obstructs our personal worship.
Matthew 5:23-24 - “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
- Bitterness causes us to be trapped in slavery.
Acts 8:23 - “For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
1 Corinthians 1:30 - “Christ made us right with God; He made us pure and holy, and He freed us from sin.” (NLT)
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” (Lewis Smedes)
- Bitterness destroys peace in the church.
Psalm 133:1 - “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!”
- Bitterness damages our witness for Christ.
“Bitterness -- refusing to give others what God has freely given to us.” (Charles Stanley)
John 13:35 - “By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
1 John 4:20 - “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?”
How can we be rescued from bitterness?
- Ask God to reveal any bitterness that may be inside of you.
- Confess it to the Lord and receive His forgiveness.
Psalm 51:4, 6 - “Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You may be justified in Your words and blameless in Your judgment. Behold, You delight in truth in the inward being, and You teach me wisdom in the secret heart.”
- Ask God to help you to extend forgiveness to whoever hurt you.
- Continue to forgive until your feelings change.