Bitterness a Root With a Bitter Fruit – Part Four

Ephesians 4: 30 – 32

In horticulture the pruning of a plant gives the root a growth opportunity. The same is true with bitterness. Just changing the vocabulary won’t help. The root will continue to grow.

Note some foliage that is to be “put away,” pruned, that is. (Ephesians 4: 31). “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31).

It all starts with bitterness which describes a bitter resentful spirit of one who broods over a perceived slight or injustice.

“Wrath” refers to a sudden outburst of passion.

“Anger” is a smoldering settled feeling.

“Clamor” refers to public quarreling.

“Evil speaking” means slanderous whispering. 

“Malice” refers to a vicious spirit, or spite, a deep unkindness.

These things are to be “put away.” Here are some practical steps.

Identify the source of your bitterness. Are you bitter because of another person’s act? Are you bitter over God’s acts or lack of action? 

The Bible mentions the bitterness of Naomi whose story is told in the book of Ruth. She was bitter. Her bitterness had grown out of a traumatic experience. She considered God to have failed her and she was bitter with God. Her husband and sons had died and she returned to her homeland saying, “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life bitter” (Ruth 1:20). Once Naomi took her eyes off herself and realized what a blessing God had granted her in the person of Ruth, she became a blessing to Ruth and was herself blessed.

View the person you feel has offended you as God’s tool to refine you. By letting the action of someone control you, that person becomes your master and you their puppet dancing off their strings. The question for the believer is always “Who is going to control me?” Who calls the signals in your life?

Thank God for the offense as an occasion to show your personal spiritual growth. “…rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings…” (I Peter 4: 13).

Don’t try to even the score. Remember, God said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay…”

Don’t keep score. “Love…thinks no evil” (I Cor. 13:5).

Forgive the person you consider to have offended you. Christ told Peter and us to do it 70 X 7 times. That means, don’t quit forgiving.

An old adage states: “The hornet of remembering may fly again, but the sting of bitterness has been removed.”

You can’t forget the fact, but by forgiving the person, you can forsake the bitterness associated.