Overcome Bitterness

Points Covered: Read overcome bitterness to past your bitterness into God’s forgiveness and blessings. Types of Bitterness. Recognizing Bitterness. Overcome Bitterness.

Every day life presents opportunities for us to be offended. It may be something as simple as people cutting you at traffic. It may be someone you love using harsh & cutting words that really hurt or it may be something deep like betrayal of abuse that you have gone through.

Satan gives us many opportunities every day to be offended. What was your response the last time someone hurt you? Perhaps you felt the urge to retaliate. Maybe you took no action, but instead harbored bitterness in your heart.

Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Now the moment we are offended, we have a choice. We can either choose to let go and move or we can choose to hold on to it. When we hold on to it, a bitter root begins to grow, & as it grows. You see the root is under the ground and no one can see it but it grows and grows, it consumes a person from within and produces bitter fruit.

It is natural that everyone get hurt at some time or the other Apostle Paul got hurt: 2 Timothy 4:14-16 14Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. 15You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message. 16At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. No one stood with Paul during his trial for doing good. Paul had every reason to get angry and bitter but he is praying “may it not be held against them.” If it was me a couple of years ago, I would be saying, “Punishment them oh! Lord.”

2 Timothy 4:17 But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength,(When you are hurt the Lord is on our side.) so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.

Paul had an important mission, you and I have a mission and he had to let go of hurts in life. Paul felt angry, wounded, felt like taking revenge but he chose to forgive and do the right thing.

Stephen was stoned to death and see what he said Acts 7:59-60 59While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

Jesus was betrayed, flogged and crucified on the cross and see what he said, Luke 23:34 “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

We forgive because: Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood. Your war is not with people. There is unseen evil force that attacks you when people offend you.

1. Types of Bitterness.

How does bitterness show itself.

a. Bitterness towards God.

Some people become bitter against God. It can be the loss of a loved one or someone loses a job or there is a problem in relationship.

You are angry, and you say, “Lord, if You love me so much, why did this happen.

b. Bitterness towards others.

A majority of people are bitter against other people. It can be a child who believes his parents are unfair to him. It can be a husband or wife who says, “I am betrayed. I am not respected.”

Satan has encaged a lot of believers in bitterness to other people. Taking offence is one of the tools of satan in the present day church and the general attitude for people is not to reconcile.

c. Bitterness towards self.

Some people are bitter against themselves. They cannot forgive themselves. They say, “I deserve this. I shouldn’t have done this or that, what I’m getting is because of my fault.”

Most of the people are living in a cage of bitterness and unforgivness either against God or someone else and sometimes themselves.

2. The destruction of bitterness.

The consequences of an unforgiving spirit.

a. Bitterness hinders our spiritual progress.

Mark 11:22-25 22“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23“Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.

b. Bitterness hinders our Faith.

c. Bitterness hinders our Prayer.

d. Hinders our Worship.

e. Bitterness hinders our overall spiritual growth.

f. Bitterness affects every area of our life.

Proverbs 3:7-8 7Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. 8This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

Proverbs 14:30 A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

Many of the physical problems you have may be traced back to the sin of bitterness.

3. Recognizing Bitterness.

  • Anger. Blames others, excuses own actions.
  • Isolation/avoidance.
  • Critical spirit. Gossip, tail bearing.
  • Mood swings.

4. The Biblical picture of forgiveness.

Let’s look at the Biblical idea of forgiveness, the forgiveness that God proclaims. Matthew 18:23-27 23“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26“At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

What is being described here is God’s forgiveness. Jesus is using hyperbole, an exaggeration in the amount of money. Ten thousand talents would be equal to Crores of Indian Rupees today, an impossible amount for a servant. But somehow he owes it.

And Jesus is using the picture of this great debt to represent the great debt that you & I owe to God. The servant can’t pay the debt, & neither can we. But when the man pleads for mercy, the master erases the debt. That’s the way God forgives you & me.

But that is not the end of the parable. Matthew 18:28-30 28“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. 29“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ 30“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.

You see, the first section of this parable deals with how God forgives us. The second section deals with how we often deal with each other. “God has forgiven me a great debt, but I’m not going to forgive you. I refuse to forgive you.”

Now listen to the conclusion: Matthew 18:31-35 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I cancelled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

God forgives us even though we do not deserve forgiveness. Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God teaches us that we are to give forgiveness not because they have earned it but because he first forgave us. Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

5. Steps to overcome bitterness.

a. Acknowledge you have been hurt.

We all get hurt some time or the other by people. The usual response when we are hurt is that we pretend that it has not really bothered us. We say, “It does not bother me, I don’t care a bit about it, I don’t lose anything.”

One of the greatest detriments to forgiving others is denial. Confess to God that you have been hurt. 1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Confess all your hurt feelings to God. God cares for you. Come to a realization that you have been hurt and you need God’s help.

b. Surrender your right for revenge.

Usually when we are hurt we try wait for the right time to take revenge. We usually say, “I will show him who I am, I have a payback time” and so on.

Romans 12:19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 

Illustration: A mother ran into the bedroom when she heard her 7-year-old son scream. She found his 2-year-old sister pulling his hair. She gently released the little girl’s grip and said comfortingly to the boy, “Sorry boy, she didn’t mean it. She doesn’t know that it hurts.” He nodded his head and the mother left the room. As she went outside the room the boy pulled his sister’s ponytail and the little girl screamed. Rushing back the mother asked, “What happened?” The little boy replied, “Mom, now she know it hurts.”

The rule of the world is ‘do unto others as they’ve done unto you.’ The Bible teaches us forgive as the Lord forgave us.

1 Peter 3:9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

Romans 12:17-21 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Maybe some would say that only the weak forgive. If you forgive you will be treated like a doormat, people will stamp over you. I truly believe there is a power that is released when you decide to forgive.

c. See you hurt from God’s perspective.

Oftentimes we engage in little pity parties, & wonder why God did this or that to us, or why we are the victim of this.

See our hurt from God’s perspective & recognize that oftentimes trials & tribulations come so that we can grow and mature.

James 1:2-4 2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Scripture teaches over & over again that sometimes these times of testing are there so that we’ll begin to mature & become the kind of person that God wants us to be.

d. Acknowledge our condition.

We need to acknowledge that we’re not always the victim. Sometimes we’re the offender. We offend others, we offended God. But God in His mercy & His grace has forgiven us.

e. Ask God the grace to forgive.

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient to you, for my power if made perfect in weakness.”

God can fill you with his grace and heart to enable you to forgive others.


Matthew 6:12 Give us this day our daily bread

Matthew 6:14-15 14For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Let’s pray and ask God to help us overcome our bitterness today.