6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Getting rid of bitterness

Bitter to Better part 1

[Coffee demonstration.]

Sometimes our lives become like a black cup of coffee. Sometimes we find ourselves, for one reason or another, [2] bitter. Just bitter at life. Do you ever find yourself like that? Do you ever feel like you need a little cream and sugar in your life? Do you ever feel like you need a lot of cream and sugar in your life? Just give me something to take the bitterness out of my heart. Have you ever been there? I have.

[Relative trying to tempt me into sin yearly story.]

The way that others treat us can really create bitterness in our lives. People who betray us, people who hurt us, people who use us and people who abuse us can really be a source of discouragement and bitterness.

But not only can people arise bitterness in our lives, but the trials of life can bring us down in such a way that bitterness is the result. The loss of a job, sickness and disease and the death of a loved one can be serious sources of discouragement and bitterness.

And we’ve all been there at times. We’ve all felt so bitter that we’ve become numb to the joy and the peace that the Lord wants us to live in. Life has become a chore because we’ve become callous and skeptical of everyone and everything. Bitterness has set in.

Whether its people who have caused us pain or its life’s trials that test us, the pain is hard to deal with. And if we don’t correctly address the situation, any of us could become bitter.

But you know you can go [3] from bitter to better today with the Lord’s help.

This week we’ll be focusing on what to do when people cause us pain and next week we’ll look at life’s trials that test us. So as we begin, let’s look at what the Lord says about the bitterness that’s in our lives.

[Read Ephesians 4:31.]

God wants us to get rid of the bitterness that’s within us. Get it out of our lives! God says that we should clean house when it comes to all our bitterness and all the negativity that goes along with it. And look at all the baggage that bitterness brings with it: rage, anger, brawling, slander and malice.

How often have you seen someone’s demeanor change because their bitterness has turned into rage and anger? All the time, right? Have you ever heard, “Every time I see that person I just get so angry!” I’ve been there. Just the presence of the person I’m holding bitterness against, even the mention of their name, could set me off. Bitterness has turned into rage and anger.

And how often have we seen someone’s bitterness turn into brawling, or fighting, and slander and malicious intent towards the person they’re angry with? Constantly.

You show me someone who has been bitter for any length of time with another person and there’s a good chance that their bitterness is moving them to take revenge on them. “I’ll get you back for what you did to me!” Whether they’re outspoken in their slander or passively aggressive, they’ll do their best to make others feel the same pain that they feel.

Bitterness unchecked can be a damaging force – not only in the life of the one who’s bitter, but in the lives of those around them.

God doesn’t want us to live like that. God doesn’t want us walking around mad at the world and without the joy that life has to offer. God has promised to bless our lives with love, joy and peace. But bitterness can sometimes rob us of all that God wants to give us.

So what’s the answer? How in the world do we either avoid becoming bitter or get rid of the bitterness that we carry around in our lives? The answer lies in the example of Jesus Himself.

[Read Ephesians 4:32.]

Based on the example of Jesus’ life of kindness, compassion and forgiveness, we are to in like manner treat others the same way. We’re to be kind, we’re to be compassionate and we’re to forgive those who’ve hurt us.

You see, as God is telling us to get rid of the bitterness in our lives, He’s in the same breath telling us to be kind, compassionate and forgiving. And that especially goes for the ones who’ve caused the bitterness.

Many times when someone has wronged us and hurt us badly we just write them

off. We just figure it’s easier to ignore them than deal with them. But the bitterness is still there. And it’ll rear it’s ugly head when that person walks into the room or their name is mentioned.

Sometimes instead of ignoring them, we go after them and try and get them back for what they’ve done. Revenge doesn’t alleviate bitterness, it accelerates it!

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