Bitterness a Root With a Bitter Fruit – Part One

Ephesians 4: 30 – 32

Jesus wants to help you overcome the most common sin among Christians today. If He can enable you to have victory over the most common of sins, He can enable you to overcome any.

Bitterness is considered by many to be the most prevalent sin among Christians. Do you know any bitter believers?  Have you ever been bitter?  Are you presently harboring any bitterness?

In the New Testament the word for bitterness comes from the word “pikria.” It refers to a person who has become cynical, caustic, sarcastic, hostile, or resentful. It manifests itself by the person becoming negative, unhappy, and critical. Does that remind you of anyone?

We become bitter when we feel God, circumstances, or someone has wronged us, and we can’t do anything about it. We get angry and refuse to forgive. By harboring this anger, we become bitter. 

Dwelling on this past perceived injustice, we develop a negative and critical outlook. Soon everything and everyone seems wrong and worth criticizing. Bitter people build a mental dossier on the failings of others. This outlook causes the bitter person to look for little things about which to make snide, cutting comments, sarcastic remarks, and unkind statements.

Often an experience causing bitterness years ago takes root in a life and influences the rest of that person’s life. It may cause general bitterness or simply bitterness toward persons or things that remind the person consciously or subconsciously of the root cause. 

Often bitterness is felt toward God. When it is, most frequently it is expressed indirectly. Maybe as a child something traumatic happened that you prayed would not happen. Anger toward God arose. Over a period of time bitterness sprouted. It is hard to get your hands on God and exercise vengeance against Him. Therefore, the church becomes the target. Maybe it is even God Himself and the reaction of bitterness is expressed in a denial of His existence.

Every person has hurtful or negative experiences. It is up to the individual as to how to react. A bitter person tends to think their bitterness is the result of someone else. Actually it is a fault in their reaction. It is an improper reaction.

Bitter people often are resentful when it is suggested the only way to free yourself from bitterness is to forgive. An attitude of why should I offer the offended a “Get out of jail free” when it is they, not me, who caused it. In forgiving another it is actually you who is freed. Until you do forgive, the offender has you in the prison of guilt. Good news, you have the key, forgiveness. Let it go. Get your grudge off the lease and forgive as gratitude for the forgiveness the Lord offers you.