“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” Ephesians 4:31: (ESV)
“See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled” Hebrews 12:15 (ESV)
When going through a difficult time in life, it is easy to imagine that God has abandoned you. The shock of unimaginable circumstances, the pain and suffering that they may cause, the confusion and whys that fill your mind, could all lead you down a path of bitterness.
Hebrews 12:15 describes bitterness as an emotion that takes “root” in a person’s soul. Bitter feelings and attitudes may start out small and hardly noticeable at first. However, bitterness quickly grows into something very destructive and troublesome. It has the ability to defile many. Malice and spite are birthed from it, and could cause a spirit of ill will and a desire to do evil. It destroys spiritual joy.
Bitterness is a sign of a worldly attitude. Those who are bitter will often seek revenge, and unforgiveness usually has an iron grip on their heart. The bitter wronged will take on a stance of judge and jury, thus eliminating God’s right to correct His own children.
Frustration and anger, confusion and hopelessness will lend themselves to the development of a victim’s attitude or perspective. Constant complaints of, “Why Me?” will aggravate the sin of bitterness. We live in a fallen world and we are told that we will have tribulations in this life. God permits suffering for our own benefit. His own son was called to suffer incredible brutality. Trials are meant to transform us into the image of Christ. They are not enjoyable but they will come.
It is the grace of God with which we must fall upon when tragedy hits. Faithfulness to our Redeemer must be the spiritual fruit we put into practice during such trying times. It is with our faith, believing in a loving Creator, that we can accept the unacceptable and move past all trials sent our way.
If you have ever pulled weeds in a garden, you know that they can be incredibly difficult to remove. Some of the smallest weeds have deceptively long and deep roots. It takes a great deal of effort and strength to uproot them. If a garden is well maintained, weeds are identified and removed while still sprouts. The uprooting does not disturb the soil too much, and little or no damage is done to nearby plants.
However, if a weed is left to grow and is uprooted when fully mature, surrounding plants will be affected by its removal. They may be damaged or even themselves uprooted, due to their close proximity to the trespasser. Bitterness is this weed. It will certainly affect, uproot, and damage all nearby believers.
Bitterness is just like any other sin. It will affect our relationship with God and our relationship with those standing beside us. It will not remain hidden or buried. Eventually, it will sprout and flower. Seeds of bitterness are like helicopter seeds, they whirl themselves about and fly into the wind landing in many different locations.
If the entire root of bitterness is not removed, it will grow back. An act of forgiveness or the acceptance of the purposes and plans of God, will help in removing the weed completely. Don’t let the gall or impudence of bitterness rob you of your delight. Your delight comes from knowing that you have been Redeemed and saved.
Bitterness is a work of the flesh and His “Chosen Ones” should not take part in it’s evil. It causes anger, strife, rivalries, and dissensions. It hinders God’s request to be kind and compassionate. We are commanded to put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Bitterness separates us for God and the fellowship of the Body of Christ. Lay down your bitterness and trust that God has a reason for your trial.
“For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.” Acts 8:23 (ESV)
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14 (ESV)