The other day Brenda said "bitterness is like taking the poison and expecting the other person to die." How true is that!
The Bible teaches us that bitterness:
Is like poison
Acts 8:23 For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity."
It can be contagious and hurt others
Hebrews 12:15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;
Bloodshed, destruction and misery follow bitterness
Romans 3:11-18 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one." 13 "Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit"; "The poison of asps is under their lips"; 14 "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness." 15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways; 17 And the way of peace they have not known." 18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes." NKJV
It grieves Holy Spirit
Ephesians 4:29-32 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. NKJV
How to be set free from the curse of bitterness!
Repent: make a decision to change your mind.
Choose as an act of your will to forgive. Forgiveness is primarily for your benefit. Jesus said, if you do not forgive, you will not be forgiven. It sets you free and turns the judgment over to the Lord. It does not mean you condone someone else's actions neither does it mean you have to trust them. It means you love God and choose to obey His word as you exercise His admonishment in Matthew 7 to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It is the principle of sowing and reaping. Mercy and forgiveness are power weapons in the arsenal of the Lord.
I can hear some of you now! But Tim, you don't know what they did! You are right, I don't. But I know this. I have been bound by bitterness when others close to me betrayed me. Did you notice I used the plural of other! That means this has happened more than once. So you may ask, Tim what did you do? Well I'm glad you asked!
Bitterness and unforgiveness has a way of reaching up and grabbing your throat. I would think I'd forgiven someone but then I would see then and that knot would rise up out of my inmost being and lodge in my throat. Do you know what I mean? Have you ever had that happen to you?
I have! There was a guy I'll call Jethro! Jethro was one of my senior officers in the Navy and I served him. He ended up filing false charges against me which if found guilty I would have been dishonorably discharged and could have ended up in Leavenworth (prison). It took six months but finally I was exonerated and in fact, received a handful of medals instead. God vindicated me.
I thought I had forgiven Jethro but when I saw him that knot in the pit of my stomach rose up and lodged in my throat. I thought about what he did and thought about taking him behind the building and beating him up. The sad thing was, by that time I had become a pastor. I certainly was not supposed to have thoughts like that. I was convicted.
How did I handle that? I choose as an act of my will to forgive Jethro every day by name. Honestly, I did not sense any anointing. It was simple discipline. About 21 days into the process I saw him and guess what. That thing that rose up, that anger, the memory of the wrong that would rise from the pit of my stomach and grab me in the throat and chest was gone! Bitterness no longer had dominion over me. In fact, I even took him out to lunch.
Understand, he never repented. I still could not trust him. But, I had dominion over bitterness! Forgiveness set me free. I had overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of my testimony. I died to myself and was set free (Revelation 12:11). Jesus can set you free to.
Do you struggle with bitterness? Then ask Jesus right now for His help! You can do all things through Christ.