“Bitterness is a result of clinging to negative experiences. It serves you no good & closes the door to the future.” ~ Leon Brown
Bitterness is one of those feelings with which people have a hard time overcoming in life. When I think of bitterness, I tend to group it in the same category as anger and being unable to forgive. Most of the time, if we have bitter feelings, it’s usually because of something that has been said or done to us personally or to someone we love. Sometimes we do not even know how much it can consume us until we have let it build up. Then what do we do? We lash out or fall into a depressive state. Bitterness can cause all kinds of problems in our lives. Bitterness can deny us happiness and rob us of wonderful blessings. It can really take a toll mentally, emotionally and physically.
How can we overcome the bitterness that can consume our hearts and minds? Bitterness is described as a root in Hebrews 12:15: “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” When we think of a root, we think of something that is hidden. That is how bitterness works; you may not see it on the outside, but underneath the surface, it is there – the little roots of anger, resentment, and bitterness. Just like a root system, it can spread and cause so much damage. You can be destroyed emotionally, mentally, and sadly spiritually. Satan loves a bitter heart because it leads you straight to him. Satan wants nothing more than for you to be bitter, full of hate, and unforgiving.
Bitterness brings sorrow, depression, and anger into a person’s life. In the case of Esau, it drove him into a life of sin. He was bitter with his brother for stealing his blessing. I am reminded of the passage in Ephesians 4:31: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” God knew what having these feelings could do to us. That is why we are instructed to get rid of them. When bitterness and resentment try to take over our hearts, we need to remember who is on our side: our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In 1 John 16:33, it says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” While the Lord has promised us that He will never leave us, He never promised that life would be easy.
Many times life doesn’t seem fair, and we are tempted to let bitterness and resentment overcome us. We may lose a job, a relationship may end, or someone may betray us, but we must always remember that trials and hardships will pass away; God’s grace is there for those who lean on and trust in Him through the tough times of life. What can we do to combat bitterness?
We need to focus on the blessings in your life. Philippines 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Focus on what you do have instead of what you don’t.
We also need to be patient. God knows we struggle with circumstances in our life.1 Peter 5:10 says, “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” Meaning that while we have suffered a little time while enduring these things, God can pull us out so that all can work together for good. While the root of bitterness can really take control of our lives, there is always a way of escape. Prayer and meditation on God’s Word can be the difference between your happiness and letting bitterness control and take over your life. There are so many blessing around you if you truly look and focus on them. The littlest things in life can be the biggest blessing. We should always pray and thank God for the blessings, the trials that we face, and the lessons that we learn from them. It’s sometimes the worst experiences that can cause us to have the greatest strength to overcome those future obstacles. Just remember where to always put your trust and faith.