Bitterness is emotional cancer.
“bitterness blows out the candle of joy and leaves the soul in darkness.”
Bitter people are like porcupines
Bitter people are like icebergs.
Hebrews 12: 12-15 “Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so what is lame may not be dislocated but rather healed. Pursue peace with all people and holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Looking carefully, lest anyone fall short of the grace of God, less any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble. And by this, many become defiled.”
The biggest challenge to your peace is people.
People can hurt us, they can upset us, they can offend us, they can disrespect us, they can ignore us.
Hebrews 12:3-6 (NKJV) For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. 5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” Bitterness comes from a seed of anger planted by somebody who has hurt you.
Now sometimes people want to hurt you. It’s intentional.
Other times it’s not intended at all to hurt you.
Bitterness is simply internalized anger that you let fester over time.
Psychology Today stated, “all bitterness starts out as hurt, it festers into an anger. For anger and it’s first cousin resentment is what we’re all likely to experience whenever we conclude that another has seriously abused us. Left to fester, that righteous anger eventually becomes the corrosive ulcer that is bitterness.
Discouragement has planted a seed of hurt, the hurt has turned to anger, the anger becomes resentment, and eventually, the resentment becomes bitterness.
Steven Diamond PhD defines bitterness “as a chronic and pervasive state of smoldering resentment. And he said he regards this as one of the most destructive and toxic of all human emotions.
So bitterness begins with small seeds. But then it grows.
Second characteristic, bitterness requires the right kind of soil.
When we forget how gracious God was to us in Christ, then we cease being gracious to other people.
If we keep ruminating on wrongs in the past, keep chewing on something that somebody did to us in the past, it begins to affect us in the present, and it becomes an essential part of who we are. It is our new identity. We are that hurt one. We are the victim.
Bitterness turns you into a perpetual victim.
Bitterness is really a form of pride.
Bitterness develops deep roots.
Deuteronomy 29:18 (NKJV) so that there may not be among you man or woman or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations, and that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood; Ephesians 4:31 (ESV) Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Colossians 3:19 (NKJV) Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.
When your heart is bitter, God will not be real to you. And that’s because hatefulness and holiness cannot dwell in the same heart.
Ephesians 3:17–19 (ESV) so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Colossians 2:6–7 (ESV) Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. Ephesians 3:17-18 “I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is.”
Bitterness will produce bad fruit.
Springing up causes trouble. That means it causes you trouble.
So first of all, the root grows in your direction.
The root of bitterness always grows in two different directions, toward you if you harbor bitterness, and toward others who are defiled by it.
“Bitterness is a form of emotional suicide”.
1 John 4:20 , “if someone says I love God but hates another Christian or a brother, that person is a liar, for if we don’t love people we can see,how can we love God whom we have not seen?”.
Second, it grows not only toward you, but toward others.