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January 10, 2022

Ep.1212: Am I Too Bitter to Be Better?

Understanding the depth of disaster that bitterness can cause

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What are some questions we can ask ourselves to see if we have any bitterness in our hearts?

How can our bitterness pollute those around us and even the gospel itself?

Is it possible to be bitter even if no one specifically hurt us?

Theme Scripture: Ephesians 4:31

It is easy to live with bitterness. I am not suggesting it’s initially comfortable, but I am suggesting that being bitter towards one or many people or circumstances is considered acceptable. We know it’s acceptable because if we pay attention, we will see that the harsh and angry results of a bitter temperament are widely encouraged. Bitterness can enter at every turn and enters easily and stealthily. Once in, it quietly takes root, masked as what we might consider justifiable anger or a justifiable reaction to wrong, or simply a justifiable defense of one’s own self. Then it grows – quietly and under the surface at first so that we get comfortable with it, until one day we wake up and it rules our life.

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Bitterness is more destructive than we like to think for several reasons:

It reformats the way we see the world

If I have been terribly wronged by someone’s purposeful action and suffer lasting consequences, bitterness can be natural and understandable. Allowing my bitter feelings to be at home in my heart is easy, as they provide a way for me explain away my now stagnating life. This produces comfort. Once we get comfortable with something, we no longer question it. Without my conscious permission, my life perspective has now changed. I see the world differently. Over time, I will inevitably be presented with several opportunities along the way to ease that bitterness, but I will most likely reject them as disruptive or useless.

It destroys our lives is through its complexity

Being bitter often brings us to being sad, disillusioned, angry and disappointed. Each of these are challenging symptoms all on their own. Routing out any one of them can be a mammoth challenge. Even when we do manage to get one or more of these under control, we still have the root cause of bitterness alive and intact within our hearts.

In the New Testament, the Bible basically defines bitterness as poison. How much poison are we willing to live with? You can dilute poison with lots of water, but are you still willing to drink it? Are we willing to rationalize and say that our bitter feelings are not as bad as someone else’s, so we’re okay? The Bible frames being bitter as a significant target for Christians to overcome and not tolerate.

Check out our January 10, 2022 podcast, “Am I Too Bitter to Be Better?” for more. We look at several biblical examples of bitterness to see what drives them and what can derail them. What we find is both alarming and hopeful. First, we find that bitterness can upend our lives in ways that we might never have thought of. But we also find that there are many things we can do to dig down and root out our bitterness. Join us for a journey of growth and change as we seek to root out the poison of a bitter heart.


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