See to it that no one
comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes
trouble, and by it many be defiled
; Hebrews 12:15
The holidays are the one time of year that we tend to be in
the company of people we don’t always care to be around. At holiday time we
see family and friends with whom have had conflicts so we don’t care
to be with them because they have hurt or offended us some time in the past. What
began as perhaps a few angry words has grown into a bitter conflict that
continues to fester.
We become bitter when someone sins against us, particularly
when the person means something to us or is close to us. Bitterness is
really a type of revenge. The bitter person believes that they are getting even
with the one who hurt or offended them. They think they are
justified in their response, and that they are this way because of something
that has happened to them. If they are a victim, then they must not
be responsible for their response.
If someone dares to confront them about their bitterness
they may even defend their “right” to be bitter saying things like, “If this
happened to you, you would be bitter too!” Everyone but themselves is at fault
for their circumstances, and they will typically go to great lengths to prove
how “right” they are.
Folks like these are easy to spot in a crowd; they are the
ones lugging the suitcase full of real and perceived injustices, reams of
wrongs done to them, and itemized lists of the offenses of other’s. They are
very self-righteous about their bitterness as well. They feel very justified in
This becomes a circular pattern of thought, belief and
behavior because the more a person dwells on what has been done to them, the
injustice they have suffered, or the loss they have incurred; the deeper the
root of bitterness goes.
Does this sound familiar to you? Does it apply to you?
Perhaps you struggle with the same type of bitterness and rather than looking
forward to the holidays you are dreading them.
Bitterness is a serious issue of the heart and the person
who refuses to deal with their bitterness as sin it is finds themselves in
great danger. I cannot say they find themselves in “spiritual danger” because
their salvation is not in jeopardy. However, a life that is dominated by the
issue of bitterness would cause me to question if they were regenerated in the
If you are a bitter person I ask you to consider the
poisonous nature of bitterness and how it defiles not only you as the bitter
person but everyone around you. Being bitter is like poison, like gall which
leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
The fruit of bitterness is POISON and it comes from a heart
of unbelief or distrust in God. Somewhere along life’s way you stopped trusting
in the sovereignty of God.
We become bitter out of a belief that God will not punish
the people who hurt us, that God does not hear our plea, or that He does not
care about our plight. We conclude that God is not going to intervene in our
circumstances so we decide to stand in as judge, jury, and executioner in the
lives of other people.
It is really important that you understand that bitterness
arises out of living to please yourself rather than living to glorify the Lord
and this causes much trouble. Scripture describes bitterness as a poison! There
is no soft soaping the biblical view of bitterness.
Spend some time in the Word today and search for stories
where God allowed negative circumstances and persecution in the lives of godly
people. See if you can find how He used those
events in their lives to make his children like Christ.