Summary: Bitterness will DEVASTATE you spiritually/DESTROY you physically/DISCOURAGE you emotionally/DIVIDE the fellowship/DEPRIVE you of blessings/DEFILE your relationships! Powerpoint at website.

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The Bonds of Bitterness

Eph. 4:31

Has someone ever said or done something to you for which you found it difficult to forgive them?

Every time their very name is brought up, even if it was years ago, it still brings butterflies to your stomach. When you think of them, your heart rate increases. And you can feel your blood pressure rising when you think of what they said or did. It’s as though you were reliving it again, just thinking about it!

If so, it may be that you are in the bonds of bitterness. Which is a shame…because bitterness doesn’t even touch the person you are bitter toward, but it sure will harm you, no exceptions. Like Frankenstein, bitterness is a monster which turns on its creator, and causes internal damage beyond compare…an internal poison eating it’s way out!

The other person continues their life, and may be happy and content, and never even think about you, but because you hold bitterness for them, they continue to control your life…if they do think about you, it’s in satisfaction as they can see they still get at you!

Ill.—counseling w/ women abused as girls: He continues to touch you until you give that bitterness to God. Men hit by their fathers…he’s still hitting on you?

Many emotions which we feel are not necessarily sin:

Anger—“be ye angry and sin not”

(it’s possible…righteous indignation)

But when anger gets out of its cage, it’s sin.

(Or when the object of our anger is misplaced)

Guilt is not always sin

Sometimes the Lord gives us a Godly guilt, a conscience, a convicting, to get us back onto the straight and narrow.

But Satan uses guilt to paralyze us in our Christian walk…and when guilt gets out of its cage it is sin.

Grief is not always sin.

Grief is a gift from God when used to help us heal from loss or sorrow of some kind.

But if we refuse to allow the Holy Spirit to comfort our grief, it becomes self-pity…a sin.

Anger/guilt/grief, are they sin? Maybe so, maybe not. But there is a human emotion that is always, w/ out exception, a sin: Bitterness!! Bitterness and unforgiveness is always sin!

If you spit in my eye, you have sinned. If I turn away in bitterness, I have sinned.

You question my motives/ injure me falsely…

Have you been sinned against? Don’t join in on the sinning by responding wrong!

Who is that person that comes to mind? For whom do you hold bitterness, if you’re honest w/ God today? Don’t explain it away…they came to mind for a reason. The Holy Spirit of God brings them to your mind because He loves you and wants to rid you of a cancer that is eating you from inside out!

It may have been last week or last year…I don’t care if it was decades ago when you were a child…but you know in your heart that you’ve never truly forgiven them for it.

And whatever you do, don’t say: I don’t hardly ever think about them at all. That wasn’t the question. The question is when you DO think about them, or someone else brings it up even, what are your thoughts about them? “Thank you Lord for forgiving me though I don’t deserve it, and for not holding my sins against me…and thank you for giving me the power to forgive others.”

Let’s all be honest, no denial…who is it?

6 things Bitterness will do to your life:

1. Bitterness will devastate you spiritually

Why? For 2 reasons:

• Because bitterness necessitates that you walk in the flesh, and not in the Spirit.

All Christians have that choice every day, many times a day, to take a step in the flesh or to take a step in the Spirit.

(only 2 choices on the shelf…)

We can’t control what happens in life, but we can control how we respond/react!

A bold sounding statement: If you have unresolved bitterness in your life, you are not right with God, and you are not walking in the Spirit, but in the flesh!

Proof: Gal. 5

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance

These are the very things you hold back from them, as long as you are bitter…

You are w/ them and don’t feel like displaying love

You think about them and don’t feel joy, and have no peace at all!

You aren’t longsuffering, or you would give them more latitude…you’d think about how much you’ve been forgiven for by Christ and it would make it easier to forgive them yourself, even if they don’t deserve forgiveness…neither do you! (which is meekness!)

You can erase them from your hit list if you’re walking in the Spirit!

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