The Creeping Vines of Bitterness

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. James 3:14

Last time we met I left you with a plea to examine your heart and honestly evaluate if you may be a bitter woman. This is not as easy as one might think, for we all love to hide our sins under a cloak of righteousness. We justify the way we feel about things and sometimes we even use Scripture to attempt to validate our sin. I have heard women say their anger and bitterness were justified and then begin to tick off a mental laundry list of someone else’s sin that has “Made me angry” or “Caused me to be bitter.”

Friends, first you must understand that no one can “make” you anything! Your responses are a choice you make as a result of what is going on in your heart. They are evidence against you of whom or what your heart is focused on.

“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. Matthew 15:19

Women living with bitterness are struggling deeply with evil thoughts. Evil thoughts are nothing more than ungodly ones! All our sin comes from the heart as Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

Please understand, bitterness is a poison, and it will eat you alive from the inside out.

For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” Acts 8:23

Bitterness is focused on what has been done to you. To break up bitterness, you must also be willing to look at what you have done to others. As much as everyone wants to be innocent and the victim, we cannot continue in this posture. I have found that even if a person was innocent in the original situation they have ceased to respond biblically to it and sinned in their own heart.

Your task is to learn what your responsibility is in the matter. You will need the Spirit of God actively working in your heart and convicting you of your sin to begin this process of correcting the heart of bitterness. Jeremiah 17:9 says that our hearts are “more deceitful and desperately wicked” and we cannot know the depths of our own sinfulness.

We can be confident that God wants us to succeed and that He is for us in this process. King David -a sinful man- is also called a man after God’s own heart. Psalm 139:23-24 contains a wonderful prayer for us in seeking God’s help as we examine the heart.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

The Lord tell us He will be faithful to do this in this next verse which says,
“I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds. Jeremiah 17:10

A bitter person does not like to admit that any of the responsibility belongs to them. It is preferable to be the “victim” in the relationship having been the only one wronged. However, if you would examine what is left of the relationships in this woman’s life you would quickly see a pattern emerge, with her at the center and ironically she is always the one who is misunderstood, hurt, ignored, and mistreated and so on.

This is why it is critical for her to begin to take some responsibility for her own actions in these relationships. All the Lord asks is that we take 100% responsibility for our part of the problems and then put our full effort behind resolving them.

I would urge you to go to those you have hurt, confess your sin, and first seek their forgiveness. You must be willing to get the log out of your own eye prior to examining your neighbor’s eye. (Matt. 7:1-5) We will begin with that tomorrow.