SPF 096: How To Be Free From Bitterness

When we sin, we feel guilt. When we are sinned against we can become bitter. So does that justify bitterness? The Bible does say to not let any bitter root grow and to get rid of all bitterness. But it’s not my fault, right? Today I am sharing a story of my personal bitterness and how God used a book and conviction from the Holy Spirit, and He sweet empowering grace to get rid of a big ol bitter root in my heart. 

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Bitterness

The Book: How to be free from bitterness and other essays on Christian relationships by Jim Wilson 

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Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. -
Ephesians 4:31- 5:2

The Bible tells us that bitterness must be put away from us, so it must go. Instead, we need to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving, being imitators of God, walking in love.

What is bitterness:

“Guilt is what we feel when we sin, and bitterness is what we feel when others sin against us. The very definition of bitterness points to the actions of another. If we committed the offense, we would feel guilty and would know that we had to confess and forsake our sin. bitterness is always based upon someone else’s sin - whether real or imagined.” - Jim Wilson

“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12:15

From a bitter root, bitter fruit will come.

Hebrews describes this bitter fruit - trouble and defilement for many

There’s a few other tell-tell characteristics of bitterness:

  • bitterness accumulates

  • bitterness remembers details

  • bitterness reviews review reviews

The world has two solutions - keep the bitterness in and make ourselves sick, or let it out and spread the sickness around.

God’s solution is to dig up the root of bitterness. This takes the grace of God. We must know and trust in Jesus first to begin digging up a bitter root.

“The Bible says to get rid of all bitterness. You must not keep it in and you must not share it. Surrender it to the Father, through the Son.” - Jim Wilson

But in order to get rid of bitterness Jim writes, “I need to recognize it as my problem; only then can I confess it and forsake it.”

Without being convinced that bitterness is sinful, that it is a gross evil, as Jim calls it, it is impossible to walk toward repentance and thus a solution for bitterness.

“When somebody else says he is sorry, it does not get rid of our bitterness. The only thing that gets rid of bitterness is confession before God because of the Lord Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. This is the only solution." - Jim Wilson

“We must not keep it and we must not share it with others. There is only one thing to do and this is to confess it as a great and evil sin. We must be as persistent in the confession as necessary.”  - Jim Wilson

If I could boil my bitterness journey down :

  1. In order to get rid of bitterness we must own the fact that it’s our sin

  2. we do not get rid of our bitterness by the other person being sorry 

  3. God forgives us when we repent and His gr ace allows us to be gracious

  4. We can entrust our hearts to our Faithful Creator when we suffer and continue to do good. He is a just God and He is a gracious God. What people do has an eternal impact and if they have sinned against you and they do not know Christ, pray for their salvation. And if they do, pray for their repentance, but all the while remembering that we are to get rid of all bitterness.

Resources

Amazon Links are affiliate links - meaning I get a very small referral credit from Amazon for recommend products, at no cost to you - that goes to supporting the podcast.