Looking at Bitterness

I know the many faces of bitterness. I know how it sounds, how it acts, how it feels. When he texted a sarcastic remark, it hurt. The initial reaction was disappointment laced with indignation. When all you do is help someone and yet, will not hesitate to be sarcastic and rude to you, you can’t help but be disappointed and indignant. But if you have the gift of discernment, you can see beyond the sarcasm: it is the monster of bitterness that is lurking beneath the surface.

(image from Google)

Bitterness bites and gripes. It is unthankful; it only wants to see and think of itself. It is hard to please; it chooses to be unhappy and stay that way. Bitterness is ugly. It consumes. It destroys.

So, he can be all that because I know he’s bitter. He’s bitter at how he believes life is treating him. Bitterness cannot see God’s goodness and blessings. Bitterness can easily take over someone who doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ. So, after the fleeting feeling of indignation, grace and understanding took over. By the grace and mercy we have received, we ignore the sarcasm, their attempt to bite, and in its place, we follow the way of long-suffering and offer the plate of kind words. I understand. I know. May you be found by Mercy and saved by Grace.

But there are Christians that succumb to bitterness, too. Various kinds of trials can embitter someone. Or make him or her better. Bitterness may drive us at Jesus’ feet, much like the attitude of Hannah (1 Sam. 1), or may consume us, snuff out our lamps and shrivel our faith.

Bitterness is the one thing I have been diligently guarding my heart against. With the difficult trials I’m still very much going through, I’m prone to it. But I have long learned to recognize its many ploys and would do my best to shun its banks and be not engulfed by its current.

Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. (Rom. 12:15 NLT)

But why does bitterness trump a Christian? When he or she is following two roads: one towards God and the other towards the world. When one straddles the two, his or her loyalty divided between God and the world (James 4:8). You see, when we want something of the world and can’t get it, when we believe we are entitled to have and not have it – we may become bitter. When we believe we don’t deserve the hardships we are going through, but instead, subscribe to the belief that, as the world has and does, so must we also (please see James 4). We become thus because we resist and spurn suffering, instead of yielding ourselves to the Potter’s hands and letting Him complete His work in us, that we may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:4).

There is a need, therefore, for the mind to be made new in its thinking, beliefs, and subscriptions. This, this says it all and it will help us greatly if we let its power take over our minds:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Rom. 12:2)

The antidote to bitterness is humility before God and patience in trials. To look at the mercies of God, His goodness and faithfulness, and not dwell on the things we lack. To be grateful for the blessings apportioned us, for there cannot be absence of them. To follow a single path single-mindedly, leading towards God’s kingdom where our rewards await.

Very related post: When You’re Torn Between Two Desires

I might be linking up with these lovely blogs.

Journey with Jesus,


  1. Lady Jennie says:

    It’s my first time with Just Write, and my first time here. (Hi!) :-)

    I’m rarely openly bitter – a few times, but rarely openly. I struggle with other things. But I can see that sometimes quiet resignation in the face of struggle (or not getting what I want) can be like the guy who buries his talent in the ground because he has a “hard master.” I think to myself – what’s the point of doing this or that when God is going to do what he wants. And the only thing that breaks through that thought is how much my heart aches at the thought that I view him as a hard master, he who is so NOT that.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Hi Lady Jennie! I thank the Lord for bringing you here! I struggle, too. There was a time I really believed God was a hard taskmaster. But through the years of sickness and suffering AND His healing me, He showed me that HE IS NOT THAT AT ALL. He has shown me that He is a MERCIFUL, FAITHFUL, and GOOD God. I have experienced it and continue to do so. Let’s just humbly obey and do His will with submission and gladness of heart, and we will see Him DELIVERING us from despair. Blessings!

  2. Esther Joy says:

    Okay – so I guess I might be struggling with bitterness today because of my husband’s negative comments about my most recent haircut. Isn’t it amazing how a small thing like this can steal our joy! The good thing about hair is, it grows, and it won’t look like this forever! May God help me not to succumb to bitterness over a simple haircut!

    • RinaPeru says:

      Esther, you can’t be serious! But you know what, I also sulk when I receive negative comments from my husband. I want him to be gentleman even in his comments, to not be too cruel with them – lol! But, that is honesty and openness between spouses. Meaning, they can weather it!


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