We will all at certain times be hurt deeply by others, even close friends. If you do not learn to answer the bitterness with forgiveness it can take over your life! We live in a world that celebrates bitterness. How are we supposed to understand bitterness? People who are bitter are victims of their own hate. What does God say about living at peace and not bitterness?
Hebrews 12:14-15, “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
Bitterness is a dangerous root. It is something that is hidden that we can’t see. Bitterness is the root problem that leads to anger, resentment, and hate. It establishes control of our actions, attitudes, emotions and decisions. You are held in bondage to the unresolved hurt.
Bitterness contaminates us by:
- Poisoning our relationships and ourselves. Bitter people are critical and become excited when others hurt.
- Moving us away from God. It erodes the joy in a person’s life.
- Keeping us hostage. Bitterness is one of the main goals of Satan to stop growth in a person’s life. “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:5) but bitterness keeps a detailed list.
What do we do with bitterness? A lot of times we just kick it aside or stuff it away. It is similar to the frustrating job of removing weeds in the garden. The "quick fix" is to kick over the top of the weed! It makes it “look” like the weeds are gone, but quickly they come back! Bitterness is a root so we need to dig up!
How to beat bitterness with forgiveness:
-Admit you are bitter Bitter people do not think they are bitter! You might be held down by bitterness against YOURSELF or a failure. Accept God’s forgiveness!
-Release the baggage! (v.15) Ask God to dig deep into the recesses of our soul to remove the bitterness.
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" Matthew 6:14,15.
-Replace with the love of Christ - We must make peace with our past if we want freedom.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you”. Ephesians 4:31-32
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13
We must see the deep forgiveness and grace of Jesus in our own lives before we can release the bitterness that is keeping us hostage. Who are you bitter against? will you begin to release the bitterness?
We have two choices to make in response to pain in life:
Go through the door of bitterness that leads to being held hostage
Go through the door of continual forgiveness that leads to freedom