Summary: We are admonished against becoming bitter in our walk this side. Let us look into God’s word for greater direction.
Our Battle Against Becoming Bitter
Why do we harbor bitterness in our hearts???
The following may give us an insight.
One day, two monks were walking through the countryside. They were on their way to another village to help bring in the crops. As they walked, they spied an old woman sitting at the edge of a river. She was upset because there was no bridge, and she could not get across on her own. The first monk kindly offered, "We will carry you across if you would like." "Thank you," she said gratefully, accepting their help. So the two men joined hands, lifted her between them and carried her across the river. When they got to the other side, they set her down, and she went on her way.
After they had walked another mile or so, the second monk began to complain. "Look at my clothes," he said. "They are filthy from carrying that woman across the river. And my back still hurts from lifting her. I can feel it getting stiff." The first monk just smiled and nodded his head.
A few more miles up the road, the second monk griped again, "My back is hurting me so badly, and it is all because we had to carry that silly woman across the river! I cannot go any farther because of the pain." The first monk looked down at his partner, now lying on the ground, moaning. "Have you wondered why I am not complaining?" he asked. "Your back hurts because you are still carrying the woman. But I set her down five miles ago."
That is what many of us are like in dealing with our families. We are that second monk who cannot let go. We hold the pain of the past over our loved ones’ heads like a club, or we remind them every once in a while, when we want to get the upper hand, of the burden we still carry because of something they did years ago.
Dr. Anthony T. Evans, Guiding Your Family in a Misguided World.
Let’s look at what God’s word tells us about bitterness.
Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood;
The Hebrew root word for bitterness (gall) is:
ro’sh, roshe; or rowsh, roshe; (Deut. 32:32), apparently the same as Hebrew 7218 (ro’sh); a poisonous plant, probably the poppy (from its conspicuous head); generally poison (even of serpents) :- gall, hemlock, poison, venom.
Have you ever felt the spread of the venom of bitterness within and without you?
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
There is “bitterness” (pikria): resentment, harshness.
A man who is bitter is often...
·sharp ·resentful ·cynical ·intense ·relentless ·cold ·harsh ·stressful ·distasteful ·unpleasant
Any expression of these is sin to God.
God desires men to be filled with love and joy and peace and to express such.
Anything less than the expression of these is sin.
Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
There is the danger of “any root of bitterness.”
God tells us beware any root, any cause that might stir a person to become bitter:
·disappointment ·neglect ·being overlooked· inadequacy ·teachers ·wife ·husband ·accidents ·disease ·mistreatment ·loss ·ministers ·parent ·supervisors
Bitterness can be caused by any thing or any person who has failed us or brought disappointment and trouble to us in some way.
The person who is bitter is often...
· sharp· resentful· cynical· intense· relentless· cold· harsh· stressful· distasteful· unpleasant
Any expression of these is sin to God and can cause us difficulty in effectively bringing people to Christ.
God desires people to live in love, joy, peace, and holiness, not in bitterness.
We must therefore look diligently to guard against the great danger of bitterness.
“For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity” (Acts 8:23).
“God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged” (Romans 3:4).
“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice” (Ephes. 4:31).
“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” (Hebrews 12:15).
“But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth” (James 3:14).