“There is only one way of victory over the bitterness and rage that comes naturally to us--To will what God wills brings peace.”― Amy Carmichael
Some signs that you may be bitter~
1.Are you always tired?
2. Have you lost your joy?
3. Is it hard for you to rest?
4. Is the bible "dry" to you?
5. Are you constantly struggling with cyclical negative thinking?
Bitterness is a sin that occurs from holding onto "unrighteous" anger. Correct? Sometimes it is. The effects are not always easy to diagnose and therefore treat. Let's look at the different facets of the word bitter. The dictionary defines bitter this way~
-having a harsh, disagreeably acrid taste, like that of aspirin, quinine,wormwood, or aloes.
-producing one of the four basic taste sensations; not sour, sweet, or salt.
-hard to bear; grievous; distressful: a bitter sorrow.
-causing pain; piercing; stinging: a bitter chill
-characterized by intense antagonism or hostility: bitter hatred.
-hard to admit or accept:
a bitter lesson. resentful or cynical:
The bible also has several things to say about the bitterness plague. According to Paul in Hebrews bitterness can grow like a root. Think about it... a root grows deep into the soil of the ground/soul in the metaphorical sense. Picture this. A very bitter person enters your life, or has been in your life.
How does he/she act? One way of detecting bitterness is by the words out of their mouth. There is a negativity about everything. Even to the point of angry words against God. "He's not real" "He doesn't love me." "I didn't ask to be born."
Each word a slap in the face of a God who truly loves each and everyone of us, regardless of how "good" we are. A God who designed us to give us the best of everything (think paradise). Now think "Adam and Eve". I take the bible literally. Yes there was a first man and woman. People who God adored and "walked" with in a beautiful place that He had made just for them.
Enter the serpent, dragon, satan. He is a disgruntled servant of the most high God. Why? Because he wants to be "like" Him.
He whispers in the woman's ear then and the world changed forever. Forever stained by ...not just thorns, wrong thought patterns, hardships, curses. But, separation from the ONE who truly loves us with an unconditional love.
Today, that same serpent uses the gateway to our hearts through disappointment, heart break, self righteousness, pride, love of money, love of self, and the list goes on to afflict us with a continual barrage of opposition in this world. Jesus called them "troubles".
Before you say ~ "this is not me" and go somewhere else in cyber space, think about this. Are you pressed down and have you lost your joy? Are you struggling with one person who seems to target you with their tongue and leaves you struggling with feelings of anger/bitterness?
Have you experienced trauma in your emotions or body from a loved one who betrayed you, or a financial setback that has left you reeling? Do you feel abandoned by a loved one who has died? Are you battling disease in your body, or an emotional darkness that never seems to leave you?
Here is advice from someone who has battled bitterness all of her life. Me.
I admit it and just recently found myself avoiding God after experiencing heartbreak after heartbreak in my personal life. I began to "avoid" my time with Him. I lost my peace. I began to "see" others in a twisted way. Maybe they were blessing me, but I could only see death, curses, heaviness. My life had become dry and difficult to bear.
Proverbs 7:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
At age 24 after I first met the person of Jesus I became convicted by scripture. As a baby christian I began hounding my bible study leaders. I think to the point where they wanted to avoid me. But, I could tell that there was something very wrong. And, I wanted to "make things right with God'
So, Holy Spirit led me to this passage in the bible ~ 14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 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."
After some prayer and godly counsel, I realized that I had anger and bitterness towards a person who had abused me from my past. A person who was supposed to have loved me. But, was truly incapable of giving that love as he/she was a "victim" in every sense of the word.
So, my first response was to go to the "self help" books. Christian books, yes, good ones, but, something was still missing. I was a young woman with a lot of pain in my heart, and I had begun to carry it in my spine. I figured if I lived to an old age, I'd be bent over and bitter.
Didn't Jesus come to die on the cross so that we might be set free from these things? What part of my "self" was a part of all of this? Further study showed me that through Christ I was to let all anger go. Ephesians 4:31 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice."
That's a tall order for someone who had lived 24 years in bitterness and anguish and carrying a heavy burden of being sexually molested, emotionally abused and having learned to use the anger as a shield from people so that they could not hurt me anymore.
By the way, isn't righteous anger okay? I had every "right" to be bitter and angry at the treatment I received.
Well, so did Jesus. They mocked him, spit on him, pulled out chunks of the flesh on his face. They shoved a circle of thorns into his head and opened the flesh and muscles in his back with a whip made out of leather strips with pieces of bone on the end of it. The pain from that alone should have killed him. Instead he endured nails hammered through the bundles of nerves in his hands and the pressure of his body weight as he hung on those injuries for ...HOURS. What did he say in the midst of his suffering? "Father forgive them for they don't know what they are doing." I still get chills thinking about my God, my King dying for me. How is that possible? In all of my ugliness, He gave up His life for me.
I can't say that I "cleaned" myself up from the mess I was in. I can say that I grabbed onto the grace and love offered to me by Jesus. By his death on the cross. And, I have never let go.
So, back to the bitter pill I supposedly swallowed.
Well, it stuck in my proverbial throat and thank God I threw it back up. Along with all of the bitter thoughts, hurt, disappointment, anxiety, pressure, hopelessness and pride that had been sticking in my "craw".
It wasn't pretty. But either was the cross. And, I'm so grateful for that.
"Bitterness is anything that is not sweet" Katie Souza explained in a message that I heard before "seeing" my recent bout with bitterness. Sometimes, just sometimes it's so subtle you don't even know you are bitter.
Maybe you are going through a rough time and you have not done anything wrong. That happens. It happened to Jesus.
Bring it all to the Father and let Him take away the pain. It' s the only real remedy in this life. Anything else is a shabby imitation of God's pure love for you.
Hubby challenged me. I love him for it. He did it in humility and love. And it hurt. But, it helped me get back on track and walking with the Holy Spirit.
So, I challenge you my brothers and sisters, don't let that anger master you. Take care of the pain and hurt that has been inflicted on you and do your business with God. He's waiting for you.
Genesis 4:6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”