Ephesians 4:31 – “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander and every form of malice.”
Bitterness can creep into one’s life if one is not careful. Retaining bitterness in your life is like having smelly garbage in your house and not experiencing the stink it causes. An unforgiving or unresolved anger, resentment, jealousy or continuous disappointments can slowly lead to bitterness. Bitterness can cause people to be angry towards God and thus failing to obey His commandments. The ideal remedy for bitterness is by the cleansing of God’s Word. Do not overcome evil with evil, but evil with good (Rom. 12:21).
Joseph’s brothers were bitter towards him and their actions made them sell their own brother to the Ishmaelites. Joseph forgave them for their actions. If Joseph had also been bitter towards his brothers, the entire nation of Israel would have perished. Instead Joseph said, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Gen. 50:20).
King Saul allowed bitterness to creep into his life. When he heard the women sing, “Saul slay thousands and David his ten thousand,” Saul eyed David from that day forward (1 Sam. 18:9). He tried to kill David several times. His bitterness was the prime cause of his downfall. In churches, bitterness can creep in if we tend to be angry with someone and not forgive them. The devil uses this as an opportunity to split churches. “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Heb. 12:15). “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Col. 3:13).
Each of us has a choice of either becoming better or bitter in our life. Are you allowing bitterness to cloud your judgement and impair your effectiveness for God? You can’t control what other people do to you, but you can control how you react to them. Don’t allow bitterness to rule your life. Forgive others, and trust God to resolve hurt feelings. As you free yourself from the bonds of bitterness, you will be better able to serve God fully.