The source of bitterness
Unmet expectations lead to resentment and unchecked resentment breeds bitterness. When bitterness takes root in your life, it grows into an ugly monster wreaking havoc in every area of your life.
Bitterness is contagious
The worst effect of bitterness is strained relationships. When one person suffers in a family or community, the people around that person also suffer as a consequence. When one generation acts out of bitterness, the next generation also acts out of the same bitterness, because to them it seems normal. When someone treats us badly, we may be tempted to respond in the same way to others. Sometimes, victims of bullying become bullies. This response becomes a habit and if left unchecked, it can pass on from person to person and generation to generation.
Signs of bitterness
Blaming: Sometimes we may be in a situation that we did not cause, or we may have been treated unfairly by someone. Blaming our circumstances or other people will keep us trapped and prevent us from moving forward.
Pessimism: While it’s not wrong to complain, constant complaining can become a habit and make us pessimistic.
Strained relationships: When we are suffering, we tend to become selfish and take people for granted.
Unforgiveness: Refusing to let go of the past prevents a person from moving forward.
It is important to be aware of the way we treat others when we are suffering. It’s not always possible to be perfect, but when we do make a mistake, the best thing to do is to apologize.
God heals us.
You may have been bitter in one season of your life, but it doesn’t mean that you will remain bitter for the rest of your life. Choose to change. Choose to love.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV
Just because we are suffering now, it doesn’t mean life will always be this way. Life is made up of seasons. Some good and some bad. The problem is when we don’t overcome a situation that hurt us, we may miss the good seasons and blessings that come in our lives because we are focused on what we lost.
In the book of Ruth, Naomi asks the people to call her Mara, which means bitter. She lost her husband and two sons yet at the end of the book, she is blessed with a grandson.
The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”
Ruth 4:14-15 NIV
Similarly Job was blessed in the latter part of his life after he lost almost everything.
“Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
Job 7:11 NIV
The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.
Job 42:12 NIV