You can learn how to kill bitterness.
You can exchange bitterness for “betterness,” says biblical counselor and teacher Sherry Allchin, M.A. Chances are you know the look of bitterness. It …
- sours your face, may raise your blood pressure, and contribute to other unwelcome physical ailments.
- wards off friends, coworkers, even family when you let it out.
- eats you up inside, turning you into a snap dragon.
What Is Bitterness?
Bitterness is anger under wraps. It’s testy, irritable, rude, and critical. It’s a disagreeable attitude swimming in biting, snarky comments, an attitude dripping self-righteousness and self-pity. It grows like black mold in the heart.
Often a person with a critical spirit holds dear to prickly bitterness. This bitterness reflects a heart full of anger and strife. This is what the writer of Hebrews said about bitterness.
See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled. Hebrews 12:15, ESV
The Cause of Bitterness
Bitterness has its roots in a wrong belief that your rights — real or perceived — have been stomped on and kicked across the room. Or worse.
My wrong desire: It’s only fair that after we’ve both put in long days, I should get a break from the baby and my husband should know this desire of mine without my expressing it.
I did the dishes and diapers and dust pans in the evenings while I rehearsed all the “bad” things my husband failed to do. Rather than thanking God for a great husband who provided and protected our family and who spent Saturday mornings with Laura so I could do whatever I wanted, I held tight to prickly bitterness that began with a hurt and a wrong belief.
If you do not respond biblically to the hurt (this would involve forgiving the sin, overlooking the sin, or realizing the ‘offense’ was not wrong in God’s eyes) — you may begin to rehearse the offense in your mind, reviewing it over and over again,” says Lou Priolo in Getting a Grip. “The practice of continually reviewing and imputing (charging your offender with the fault or the responsibility for) the offense violates 1 Corinthians 13:5 (‘love does not keep a running account of evil’).
My new right desire: This wasn’t how I pictured mothering. Because the Lord is in control and I believe he is good and trustworthy, I submit to Christ’s rule in my life and want his plan because his plan brings God glory and is best.
The moment I replaced my wrong belief with a right belief, I exchanged bitterness for “betterment” and let go of the whole bitter mess. You can kill your this nasty emotion too.
Here are 4 suggestions:
First, name the hurt or wrong.
3. Change your thinking and your actions.
What is a right belief that replaces the wrong belief?
When you choose a wrong desire based on a wrong belief, bitterness is likely. God’s desire is for each of us to choose what he desires according to his plans and purposes.