Saturday, August 4, 2012

Battling Bitterness

I have been considering lately how easy it is for bitterness to creep into the human heart-Christan as well as the unbelieving. Severe affliction is as likely to cause the growth of bitterness as it is to cause the growth of sweetness if we are not watchful of our souls.

The scripture is replete with warnings about bitterness and what it will do to us if it conquers us instead of us conquering it. No one on earth has had to battle this with more vigor than me-and I ask God daily to keep my heart soft and pliable in his hands-and to never let me be fooled that I am ok when I am not. I talk to my trusted friends and ask them to help me be sure I am doing ok in my battle against this sin-because it is a soul destroyer.

The Word of God has this to say in Ephesians: Eph 4:29-32 ESV
  Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 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. 

In this passage we learn some really important things about bitterness (1) It grieves the Holy Spirit of God. (2) it is usually found traveling around in the heart with other bad things like anger-wrath-clamor-slander and malice(desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another).(3) God has given us the means to fight this sin as we put on kindness-tenderheartedness-forgiveness just as God in Christ has forgiven us.

Bitterness in the heart of the Christian can be caused by many things. Here are three things that I know can make us vulnerable to having a bitterness takeover. (1) Not having an answer to the why questions. Honestly-we don't live very long in this world before we realize the answer to why things happen to us are rarely known this side of eternity. The whys generally don't bother me anymore but I do battle with the "how long" question a lot. So reason (2) is this-unrelenting suffering that seems to have no end in view. Reason (3) is that someone has wounded or offended us in a grievous way-and maybe they don't even see it it or care. Here are just three reasons -there are dozens more but I  want to be brief today. Many of you can relate to one or more of those 3-we have all been there or will be if we live long enough.

This warning is a stern one form Hebrews:  Heb 12:14-15 ESV
  Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.  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;

We see here that a root of bitterness can defile many -but that the Grace of God is a powerful weapon against bitterness ruling over us. As you meditate on the first passage you will note again that bitterness never dwells alone in the heart-it always has wicked company.

What is necessary in this battle is a constant intake of the Word of God-constant vigilant prayer-accountability to trusted advisers and a heart overflowing with God's sufficient Grace.


  1. Vicky, I wrote a similar post a couple weeks ago and I hear you loud and clear sister. You are spot on when you say "it is a soul destroyer." - And it's so true that it can be caused by so many different things. I have found that where I may pass the test in one department I have failed elsewhere. Bitterness can lead to unrelenting depression and like the Scriptures say, it will defile those around us.

    I can only find true solace by forcing myself (by God's grace) to practice what I preach regarding the Sovereignty of God. Knowing that He is always good and always has both his own glory and my good in His heart is the only thing that helps me.

    Thank you for this affirmative post.

  2. This is so good Vicky, we all face this battle. Like Diane said we all have to practice what we preach. Gosh that is so hard, but God is so merciful and helpful if only we are teachable.

    Thank you for writing this Sister!

    1. A double amen dear sister-it is very hard-and my heart breaks at times when I feel I am losing this battle-BUT-we must press on to win the prize-I am not home yet-but I am getting close!

  3. Oh Diane-I missed that post at your blog-I have to go looking for it. You know that as we age and more things just sort of broadside us how careful we have to be. I have not blogged much since FEB.-Bill is just so ill-and we are fighting a never ending battle with his poor health. Please keep us in prayer-my heart breaks at the thought of loosing my husband of almost 47 years. Anyway thanks for commenting and we do need to talk sometime soon!

    Hugs dear sister.

  4. Praying for you, dear Vicki. Thank God for His grace that enables us to battle bitterness.

    1. Thanks Persis-I try to remember what persecuted believers face daily in this battle. I am also contemplating the twin sister of bitterness which is thanklessness. Hope to see you soon.

  5. I suspected things were'nt going well with your dear hubby's health. I will pray my friend. Yes we do need to talk. I'm in Houston for 3 more weeks and have lots of time on my hands on weekdays. Please email me your # again. I can call for free in the day when Robert's working.

    The post I referred to was called "Evil Twins" and was posted on July 20th. It deals with your #3 cause.



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