Summary: Bitterness is a poison that is harmful to us. This is a life-transforming post on the danger of bitterness and how to deal with bitterness.
Everyone one of us go through situations where we are affected by other people’s actions. As we pull through life, we get run over by harsh people who don’t care about our feelings. How to you respond when people you love betray and hurt you? What do you do when you are put down by someone? On the other side, can be you be happy with others prosperity or does it make you sour?
We must understand that it is very easy for people to hurt us. If we do not deal with it, hurt will turn into anger, anger will turn to long-term resentment and bitterness.
Open your Bibles to Genesis 37. Here we find Joseph’s life going good and his future looks bright. Joseph was loved specially by his father, Jacob who made a specially decorated robe for him. Soon he is getting the rough end of the deal by his own family members. Genesis 37:4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
In spite of all negativity and bitterness around him, Joseph was a dreamer. He had a dream that the family was binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly Joseph’s sheaf rose and stood upright while his brothers sheaves gathered around and bowed down to Joseph’s sheaf. Genesis 37:5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more.
Soon, Joseph had another dream. This time the sun, moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to Joseph. Genesis 37:10-11 10When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” 11His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
What you see here is all of Joseph’s brothers burning with hatred and bitterness towards him.
Now what is bitterness? It is the feeling of hurt, resentment, anger, and even hate that can build up in our hearts when we have been hurt by another person or by an experience in life. Usually there are three ways we become hurt and bitter: By what is done to us, by what is said about us, and by what is taken from us. People can be bitter with anyone. It can be directed towards other people and even towards God.
Reason for bitterness.
Take a look at the primary reason for the vengeance his brothers had toward Joseph: Jealousy. If you are jealous of someone, you will be bitter with that person. Out of jealousy comes everything.
1. Jealous of Relationship.
Genesis 37:3-4 3Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. 4When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
Joseph was Jacob’s favorite. There are several things that contributed to this. Joseph was Rachel’s firstborn, Jacob’s most beloved wife. Rachel had died, so it is natural that Jacob would give his affection to their son. Jacob also loved Joseph, because he was the son of his old age. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him. Rightly or wrongly Jacob loved Joseph in ways he hadn’t shown to his other sons, and Joseph was hated for it.
We come across situations where we feel that someone is getting importance and love. Maybe someone enjoys love and relationship that you lack and its eating at you. My parents don’t love me. She’s the favorite in the family. He’s the dad’s beloved son. She’s getting married and I am still single. Every time you think about that person, bile rises. Listen, you’re on your way to bitterness.
2. Jealous of Position.
Genesis 37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him.
Anyone who goes to Sunday School hears about “the coat of many colors.” But there’s a back-story to this tunic that you need to know. Back in Genesis 35:22 we read that Reuben, the oldest son lay with Bilhah, his father’s concubine. Because of Reuben’s gross immorality, it lost him not only his father’s favor but all his birthrights as the firstborn son.
In my understanding, Jacob now exercised his fatherly privilege and chose to appoint his firstborn son by Rachel as his heir. See what John speak about Jesus in Samaria. John 4:5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.