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Summary: Everyone has a tendency to grow bitter with life’s difficulties. Bitterness is like a cancer that deteriorates the mind and heart. If left unchecked, this tendency can eventually poison a person’s perspectives toward just about everything. Even the writer

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Everyone has a tendency to grow bitter with life’s difficulties. Bitterness is like a cancer that deteriorates the mind and heart. If left unchecked, this tendency can eventually poison a person’s perspectives toward just about everything. Even the writer of Hebrews wrote,

"See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." (Heb. 12:15)

Application: Each individual has the power of choice to possess an attitude of bitterness or optimism. Let us look at just a few key steps.

1. If you want to avoid the bitterness trap, replace your complaining friends with positive ones. We all tend to become like the people we associate with. Solomon once wrote, "He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm."

2. If you want to avoid the bitterness trap, replace your attitude of scorning, with one of thankfulness to God. Paul once wrote, "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe." (Phil. 2:13)

3. If you want to avoid the bitterness trap, engage in the ministry of the gospel. Paul writes, "Hold out the word of life – in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing."

Application: When we give out tracts, speak of what Jesus means to us and offer comforting passages of hope to our associates, the Lord fills our hearts with joy.

4. If you want to avoid the bitterness trap, replace any bad attitude with a heart of kindness, compassion, forgiving everyone as in Christ, God forgave you. (Eph. 4:31,32)

Application: We have the power to choose to be kind, caring and forgiving since Jesus set the supreme example.

5. If you want to avoid the bitterness trap, end negative conversations. Paul writes, "Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires… Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs." (Eph. 4:22,29)

Application: When we learn to speak in an edifying way, it fills our hearts with gladness. Building others up has a way of lifting our own self-worth.

6. If you want to avoid the bitterness trap, do not become a mind slave to negative television, newspaper or radio reports. The world is filled with bad news in the media – it gets higher ratings. Instead, fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about the good things in others. Praise God for all of His goodness. Be glad for every single moment.

7. If you want to avoid the bitterness trap, commit yourself to fulfilling God’s priorities of worship, church growth, evangelism and disciple-making. John once wrote, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." (3 John 1:5)

8. If you want to avoid the bitterness trap, watch your tongue. James writes, "Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be." (James 3:10) Program your thoughts to speak of the great things God is doing in, through and around you.


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