Summary: Most people think they are totally and unequivocally free of bitterness. However, that’s not necessarily the truth. You see, bitterness creeps in, slowly and is easier seen in other people rather than in yourself.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, and slander, along with every form of malice. That statement comes from Ephesians 4, verse 31. The Greek word for bitterness is “Pikria” which translates to “Sticky.”
No matter what has been done to you, how bad, how often, or who from, bitterness is an unsound mental attitude, never acceptable to God. The root of bitterness is never healthy for the bearer. It rarely harms the targeted person or corrects the origin of the resentment. But like burning embers, bitterness can smolder before combustion into a major flare up. And when it flares up who does it hurt the most? You!
The effects of resentment are like picking up some of those burning hot coals and holding them in your hand while you gauge just when and who to fling it towards. Sure the flaming missiles may bounce off the object of your anger, but who's injured? You, much more often than the other person.
Ask yourself these three questions:
Who or what do I have bitterness toward?
Is there a deep anger that I’ve never dealt with?
Is this poison consuming me and affecting others in my life?
It’s one thing to be angry for a minute or two, but to allow your tumultuous anger to blow over to resentment, sticking to you until a spirit of bitterness takes you completely over, is quite another thing. A very troublesome thing! Once the root of bitterness stems its tenacious blossoms over your heart, it is nigh impossible to try to remove. It’s like trying to remove those dried out, caked on, bugs off the front grill of your car after a long road trip. You need to exert very special, hard pressed efforts for removal.
If you harbor bitterness in your heart, it is one of the most cancerous emotions existing. Held-in hostility and hatred, known as the “Spirit of Bitterness, causes stress. Stress is the self-imposed evil root that can devastate your immune system.”
But you may argue and say: “Brother, you don’t know me, you don't know how I’ve been hurt. You don’t know what was done to me….” You're right, I don't know. I've not walked the paths of your life nor faced the exact troubles you've confronted. But you need to ask; “How did Jesus respond as he was crucified?” The Bible tells us he could have dispatched legions of angels to save himself, or used His supernatural powers to strike his enemies dead. But he didn’t, did he? He simply requested, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” A simple message we all could echo in times of strife.
Most people think they are totally and unequivocally free of bitterness. However, that’s not necessarily the truth. You see, bitterness creeps in, slowly. It is anti-optical, meaning you can not often see it within yourself. You may not even be aware that it’s hardening your heart and your selfsame soul. Even if you can't feel or see the inward symptoms of hostility, look deep within your psyche, your own spirit, your own mind. Shed that negative mental process, if your resentment is there against any other person, any other authority or even any other time in your life when “things” didn't go your way. Eradicate your hatred, extend forgiveness, extend peace not only for yourself but for the sake of others as well.
The Bible tells us in Acts 8, verses 18 through 23, When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
Hebrews 12, verses 14 through 16, Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.
The book of Hebrews identifies the root of bitterness and foretold that roots grows in two directions, in and out. Inward, a root grows by digging deeper and latching on everything it can consume to flourish and grow inside you. You become obsessed in stress. Then, the bitter roots bear bitter the fruits of your own bad attitude, which causes the outward stress affecting many others.