Me Bitter?

Posted in Attitude, Criticism, Relationships, Revenge by PCraig on April 19, 2012

I don’t know too many people who would admit they are bitter, but if were to be really honest, you might discover some bitterness in your own heart.  As a matter of fact, we can see bitterness much easier in others than we see it in the mirror.

The Bible says that a “root of bitterness” can “defile” or poison many people (Heb 12:15).  It can destroy any relationship including marriages, parent-child, friendships, dating or otherwise.  Bitterness becomes a poison that keeps us from the kind of intimacy and purity that leads to fulfilling relationships.   How can you know if you have bitterness?

Here are some signs to watch for:

  • You rejoice in the misfortunes of others.  Even if it’s not outward, inside you are glad that the other person stumbled.  You might even feel a sense of satisfaction – “Well, you reap what you sow!”
  • Justifying your bitterness.  You say things like, “Okay, after what this person did to me, I think I have a right to be angry, upset, mad…I mean, you would only expect me to want revenge, because they deserve it, right?”  You look for others to justify your feelings.
  • You become overly critical.  From now on, all you seem to do is pick that person apart, saying things like, “Well, who does she think she is coming in here looking like all that.  I mean we see through her, right?”  In marriages, you may have been hurt by your spouse, but you’ve decided you’ll make them pay for it the rest of their lives.  When bitter, you are an expert critic of others.
  • Writing off entire groups of people.  You may have been jilted by one girl, but now you say, “All women are the same; you can’t trust any of them.”  Or, as a lady hurt by men, “Every guy is a jerk.  I hate ALL men because they’re ALL bad.”
  • Seeing it in others, but not seeing it in the mirror.  You think, “Oh, if only so & so could read this blog, because they really need it.”  Problem is, everyone else can see it in you, but you don’t recognize it yourself.

So, what can you do about it?

  • Pray for God to reveal bitterness in your heart.  Ask Him to answer this question, “With whom or at what am I bitter?”  Then sit and let Him reveal any signs of bitterness toward others.
  • Release the person at which you have been bitter with total forgiveness.  The same kind of forgiveness that God has given you.  (Read Eph 4:31-32)  Get rid of it ALL.
  • Even if you don’t feel like it yet, forgive them and begin praying for them.  Jesus said that we are to even pray for our enemies!

This past weekend, we talked all about this topic and many came to me afterwards to say thanks.  Another exercise I recommended in the service was to make a list of all the ways you’ve offended God. Yes, it may take a full notebook to make a complete list!  Then, take out another sheet of paper and write down the ways that person you are bitter towards has offended you (much shorter list).  Compare all that God has forgiven you over what He’s asking you to forgive in others.  This might make it easier to give out the same forgiveness that you’ve received.

Did you find some bitterness hidden in your heart that you didn’t realize was there?  Haven’t you held onto bitterness for too long?  What step could you take today toward ridding yourself of bitterness?

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Sweet to Sour

Posted in Attitude, One Year Bible, Revenge by PCraig on June 2, 2010

In today’s reading of the One Year Bible, I marvel at the attitude King David displays in his return to Jerusalem after being exiled by his son trying to steal his throne.  Upon his journey back to the capital David remarks, “This is not a day for execution but for celebration!” when facing those who had failed to follow him in his time of need. 

How do you do when an opportunity for revenge is knocking on your door?  Do you think, “Now’s my chance!”  Or, like David, do you celebrate the goodness of God and leave the revenge up to him?  I know when you’ve been hurt, it seems like getting even will taste sweet, but when you get to the center it’s sour.

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