Stupidity of Bitterness

by | Mar 4, 2013

Indulging in bitterness is one of the most stupid things we ever do. How stupid is it? Well, think about it this way.

Imagine that someone stabbed you in the arm with a knife, leaving it there. After he flees, you stare in horror at the knife, then in agony take the handle in your other hand and pull it out.

Disappointed mature businessswoman thinking over somethingAfter a moment, you impulsively stab yourself again. With your own hand and by your own choice. You do it again and again, day after day, week after week. It’s one of the most self-destructive acts you could ever do.

But that’s exactly what bitterness is.

People betray us, lie to us, gossip about us, fail to support us. It hurts. It hurts badly. It’s like they’ve stabbed our hearts with a knife.

All too often, rather than turning to God for grace to respond to the wrong with wisdom and forgiveness, we choose to indulge bitterness. We keep thinking about that wrong. We play it like a video in our mind over and over. We stab ourselves with the sharp memory of the incident, feeling the pain again and again.

This is why the Bible tells us to “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice” (Eph. 4:31). God wants to spare us from the repeated, unnecessary pain we tend to inflict on ourselves.

How do we find this relief? The answer is found in the words that surround verse 31: “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God” and “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (v. 30, 32).

The key to getting rid of bitter memories is to get my focus back on God. In the terms of relational wisdom, to become more God-aware and God-engaging. How?

First by remembering that bitterness in my heart grieves my Father’s heart … which I never want to do.

Second, by thanking God over and over for all he has done for me through Christ … especially for the countless times has forgiven me for disobeying and hurting him.

And third, by asking him to fill me so full of his grace and love that I naturally imitate him as I respond to those who have wronged me.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:30-32).

– Ken Sande

Reflection Questions

Think of a time when you felt prolonged bitterness toward someone.

  • How did it affect you? (Psalm 73:21-22; Psalm 106:32-33; Acts 8:23; James 3:14)
  • How did it affect your relationship with God? (Isaiah 59:1-2)
  • How did it affect your relationship with others? (Proverbs 10:12)
  • How can focusing on the Lord help you to get rid of bitterness? (Eph. 4:30-32)

For more insights on the role God-awareness and God-engagement play in improving your relational wisdom, go here.

Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like.

© 2013 Ken Sande

Get this from a friend? Subscribe now!

Share this post

Related Posts

A Cripple Walks, Leaps and Runs!

A Cripple Walks, Leaps and Runs!

2021 Harvest Report The COVID crisis crippled our live training this year … but we serve a God who loves to display his grace and expand his kingdom by making cripples walk, leap and run! So as soon as we saw all of our live seminars being cancelled last spring, we...

The Night My Father Died

The Night My Father Died

My mother passed away twelve years ago on Christmas Eve. She was totally at peace and eager to see her Savior face-to-face. Not so my father. He was terrified as death approached. In the last hours of his life, when he was told that death was just minutes away, he was...

0
    0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop