Summary: Bitterness is the most dangerous of all attitudes to healthy Christian living!
HEBREWS 12:15 “BITTERNESS: THE POISON OF THE SOUL”
A) Bitterness is the most dangerous of all attitudes to healthy Christian living!
* It will eat away the vitality of your spiritual life until your testimony is in shambles.
* Bitterness is the cancer of the soul, claiming millions of victims every year.
* It spreads faster than the common cold and, if unchecked, will destroy families and churches.
B) Let me give you a private test?
* Name the three persons who have hurt you most … Name the three persons whose company you
enjoy least … Name the three persons you would most enjoy watching fail in life.
* Name someone you just can’t stand or someone you wish ill against?
* The wrong answers to these questions may mean that you are a bitter person.
* The Bible warns us “Looking diligently (or beware) lest any man fail of (or fall from) the grace
of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;”
C) The problem with bitterness is that you can’t hide it, nor contain it!
* It spreads like a plague until it affects everyone around you.
* Some of you may be so bitter that you can’t talk about your husband or wife …….
* Parents or children, friends or relatives, pastor or church without expressing bitterness about how
much they’ve hurt you.
D) The reality is that life is full of hurts!
* Jesus Himself warned in Luke 17:1 “It is impossible but that offences will come:”
* Life is full of hurts and it always will be!
* As long as you live, people are going to hurt you, offend you and disappoint you … But you
don’t need to be the victim of their offenses …….
* You can learn to rise above life’s disappointments.
E) Now let’s read Ephesians 4:25-32 ……. How to know if you are bitter!
* No one wants to admit they are bitter … Sometimes everyone else can tell but us!
* Let me give you another test … Let me ask you to be honest with yourself and answer a few
basic questions … Here they are:
* Does it irritate you when people don’t agree with you? … Do you think you are usually right and
others are usually wrong? … Do you find yourself giving more criticisms than compliments?
* Are you short with people? … Do you ask people “loaded” questions just to irritate them?
F) Is it difficult to talk to someone who has hurt you in the past without constantly bringing it up
again? … Do your conversations tend to turn into arguments?
* Do you feel disappointed, mistreated or betrayed? … Do you feel like God has let you down?
* Do these kind of questions make you defensive?
* Several yes answers may mean that you are probably bitter!
G) In Eph. 4:25-32, the Apostle Paul gives us five keys to overcoming bitterness …….
(1) STOP LYING AND START TELLING THE TRUTH – V.25!
A) When someone is upset, another will ask, “What’s the matter?”
* And usually the explosive response will come, “Nothing!”
* What that answer really means is, “Go away, I don’t want to talk about it.”
* Honest communication depends on honest conversation.
* Telling the truth builds bridges … Lying builds barriers.
* When people see you’re not being honest with them, they’ll stop talking to you.
(2) STOP HATING AND START LOVING – V.26-27!
A) In this passage we are warned not to stay angry, because anger destroys communication!
* Anger will lead either to aggressive or depressive behavior … It causes us to strike out at others
or to put down ourselves.
* Either way, its destructive force hurts us and those with whom we are angry.
(3) STOP STEALING AND START GIVING – V.28!
A) Stealers are takers, and selfish by nature!
* The Apostle Paul reminds us that we need to stop stealing and develop the grace of giving.
* In marriage, some people are takers by nature.
* They never learn to give, and their marriage collapses.
* Selfish people destroy communication … Unselfish people build communication by building
bridges to each other with gifts of kindness.
B) In personal relationships, ask yourself, “Am I a giver or a taker?”
* Givers tend to see the worth and importance of other people and therefore are apt to bring out
the best in others.
* Takers, on the other hand, tend to see the world solely from their own standpoint.
* They provoke others to evade, repress, or deny their innermost feelings.
(4) STOP CUTTING PEOPLE DOWN AND START BUILDING UP – V.29-30!
A) Some people excel at cutting down everything and everybody!