A discussion came up today about bitterness and how to overcome it. Bitterness locks us out of being able to share with other. Bitterness interferes in our communication with our Lord! There are not quick answers to address bitterness, because we don’t become bitter without falling short of the mark in other areas in our walk with Jesus.
Acts 8:23 (NIRV)
I see that you are very bitter. You are a prisoner of sin.
If we are freed by Christ Jesus why would we allow ourselves to be a prisoner of sin? Clearly bitterness is a poison that diminishes our ability to serve God.
Hebrews 12:15 (NIRV)
Be sure that no one misses God’s grace. See to it that a bitter plant doesn’t grow up. If it does, it will cause trouble. And it will pollute many people.
When we find bitterness in our lives we need to uproot it and remove it from our lives!
Bitterness isn’t a standalone attribute. Whenever there is bitterness there are other factors at work that must be addressed in our life to ‘uproot’ bitterness. There are many but here are just three key things that in most cases can help you eliminate the cancer that is bitterness from our lives and walk closer with Jesus everyday:
Pride – Specifically ‘Self-Pride’. Often when we feel the beginnings of bitterness it is because we feel ‘We don’t deserve to be treated THAT way’. Think of Jesus, did he ‘deserve to be treated the way he was? The world will despise you as they despised our Lord if we truly ARE BEING Christ Like!
Proverbs 11:2 (NIRV)
When pride comes, shame follows. But wisdom comes to those who are not proud.
So not only does pride plant the seed of bitterness in us, it also shortens us in wisdom and befalls us with shame!
Love – Or the lack of it, the greatest of the gifts.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7 (NIRV)
Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not want what belongs to others. It does not brag. It is not proud. It is not rude. It does not look out for its own interests. It does not easily become angry. It does not keep track of other people’s wrongs. Love is not happy with evil. But it is full of joy when the truth is spoken. It always protects. It always trusts. It always hopes. It never gives up.
If it were not for love, Jesus would not have died for our sins. If it were not for love our father in heaven would not have sent him. If there is love there is no pride to foster bitterness. “It does not look out for its own interests.” How can we be bitter when filled with this love that doesn’t see self? “It does not keep track of other people’s wrongs.” How can bitterness exist when we don’t track the ‘wrongs’? It simply cannot. “It always hopes. It never gives up.” NEVER gives up!! If we find ourselves bitter have we not ‘given up’? So where there is Christian love that our Lord bitterness cannot exist. As Paul told us “suppose I have enough faith to move mountains. If I don’t have love, I am nothing at all.”
If we are plugged into this power source the light is going drown out so many of the devils trap and snares including bitterness!
Forgiveness – If we can’t or are unwilling to forgive others, it is impossible to cast aside bitterness.
Colossians 3:13 (NIRV)
Put up with each other. Forgive the things you are holding against one another. Forgive, just as the Lord forgave you.
We are instructed to forgive even as Jesus forgives us. OUR filthy, disgusting, repulsive sin was forgiven. We are clearly unworthy of the love that God showers on us but we are forgiven and the love flows! How then can we not forgive others and as a result harbor bitterness?
These three elements almost always lead to understanding where the bitterness grows from and by identifying it, cleansing our hearts and asking forgiveness of our Lord; we can set bitterness aside and let Christ’s love flow though. And remember, bitterness can’t exist where there is love!