Summary: Bitterness always comes back to bite us and hurt our lives

The Bite of Bitterness

Selected Passages

September 26, 2004


A rattlesnake, if cornered, will sometimes become so angry it will bite itself. That is exactly what the harboring of hate and resentment against others is--a biting of oneself. We think that we are harming others in holding these spites and hates, but the deeper harm is to ourselves.

There is an old saying bitterness will always bite you back. So many people live out their lives focused on the things that annoy or irritate them. They dwell on the bad, the hurtful, and unfair aspects of life. They look at life through the lens of a miserable attitude, making themselves more miserable and everyone around them miserable. Even sadder is that I know many Christians that live their lives the exact same way, unable to see the good in anything or anyone. How absolutely sad!

Bitter people are easy to spot and difficult to understand. They constantly walk through life with a gigantic chip on their shoulder. Here are the kinds of things a typical bitter person will dwell on

· The boss doesn’t like me and treats me bad

· Our neighbor is the most difficult person in the world to deal

· My wife is always nagging at me to do this and do that

· My husband doesn’t understand my needs because he is never around

· Some idiot cut me off in traffic

· The young hot shot beat me out for the raise I deserved

· I just got the raw end of the deal

If you find yourself in any of these statements, let me tell you a little secret about being alive. You ready for it. Life is not fair. It never has been fair and never will be. Get used to it and get over it. We live in a fallen world, in a sinful society, with fallen people who act out their sinful state. Is it any wonder that life is so unfair?

The simple truth is this: the more you dwell on the unfairness of life, the more overwhelmed you will become and the more overwhelmed you get, the more miserable you become. Each day that you choose to dwell on the trivial irritations of this life is a day you waste.

How do we get a handle on this thing we call bitterness? What can we do about it? How can we overcome it?

I. Tracking the Source (James 3:13-14)

Before you can solve a problem you have to first discover the source, you have to find where the problem comes from. James gives us a good place to start looking for the problem with bitterness. Open your bibles to James 3:13-14

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth

James seems to point out two of the key sources of bitterness. The first is envy. I think that we have a hard time understanding envy because at times it is extremely subtle. Envy is not being content with what you have or who you are and desiring to have or be something else.

Lack of contentment with what you have

The truth is that everything that you have is a blessing from God and everything that you have really just belongs to Him. Everything in your possession, has been entrusted to you by God. When you understand this principle it is a lot easier to be content.

Our trouble begins when we start seeing the “stuff” that other people have and we start to want more for ourselves. We buy into the American mindset and want to bigger house, the fancier car and the more powerful position. In the end, none of it satisfies us and just leaves us empty inside.

Lack of contentment with who you are

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Let me say a few things about this. First, there is a difference in settling for who you are now and striving to be who you can become in Christ. Just because you are a Christian doesn’t mean that you’ve reached the summit in your walk with God.

Second, God made you special. The word used here for workmanship is poiema, which is the same word where we get the English word poem. God created you so special that He says that you are His poetry.

Third, you were created with a purpose in mind. God put you on this earth, at this time and brought you to this church to help fulfill His purpose for your life.

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Revd. Martin Dale

commented on Sep 22, 2006

Very useful

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