Bitterness is one of the most difficult and deadly enemies we have to contend with. Although most won’t admit it, many are bound by bitterness. They are enslaved by it and every area of their life is adversely affected. So, perhaps the most difficult part of this battle is admitting that we are bitter. Until that happens we will never overcome it.
One of the things that makes this so difficult is the wretched condition of the world in which we live. Everywhere you look you see things that disappoint, hurt, discourage, and trigger resentment. To make matters worse, even if you limit your view to the “Christian” segment of society you can’t escape the temptation to get bitter. Truth is— that just might be the most troublesome area of all. We don’t expect much from the world, and for good reason, but we have lofty expectations for those professing to be God’s children. And what we see is heart-breaking. But we make matters worse if we get bitter.
I understand why so many unbelievers want nothing to do with Christianity. The rotten condition of churches today have made the glorious gospel repulsive to the world in general. We Christians ought to do better than that! Our own imperfections should remind us that life is hard and we all fail. Considering how gracious and tender God has been with us, we ought to be more patient with others. Isn’t it strange how we try to justify our own sins by pointing the faults of others? At this very moment some are bitter toward others because of their “wrong-doings” toward them, and they are so focused on their faults, real or perceived, that they can’t see their own. Make no mistake about it– if you have bitterness in your heart, you have sin in your life, and that is as problem. It is a problem for you and others. Consider what is said in Heb. 12:15, “ 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“.
I’ve watched some people pout for months, even years, over some professed injustice in their life. They are miserable and they make others miserable. They have taken themselves out of the picture so far as being useful in God’s work. They are sitting on the sidelines complaining when they should be joyfully involved. Not only are they miserable, since the “joy of the Lord is your strength”, they are weak and susceptible to temptation. You could say, they’ve fallen and are fixing to fall further.
If I stopped here it would be bad enough, but there is more. Your bitterness ends up defiling “many” others. So now the “victim” becomes the villain. Now how do you justify your bitterness and judge your “enemy”? Even if he is in the wrong, do you not put yourself in the same category by harboring malice in your heart?