'adjective' (1) having a sharp, pungent taste or smell; not sweet.
(2) causing pain of unhappiness. (3) feeling anger, hurt, and
resentment. (4) (of a conflict) harsh and acrimonious - which means
having ill feelings" [source].
"Bitterness is that hateful, spiteful sourness in the heart that
creeps in when you have been, or think you have been, maliciously
wronged. I looked up the word in a dictionary, and it was
defined as a sharpness affecting the taste, the feelings or the
mind. It comes from an old English word that meant 'sharpness to the
"Bitterness is self-induced misery,
and it produces chain sinning. A chronically bitter person is his
own worst enemy and he becomes difficult to maintain a relationship
with. ... Bitterness is symbolical of affliction, misery, and
servitude (Exodus 1:14; Ruth 1:20; Jeremiah 9:15). The Chaldeans are
called the 'bitter and hasty nation' (Habakkuk 1:6). The 'gall of
bitterness' expresses a state of great bitterness (Acts 8:23). A
'root of bitterness' is a wicked person or a dangerous sin (Hebrews
12:15). The Greek word translated 'bitterness' is said to have
originally meant 'pointed, sharp, penetrating, painful (to the
feelings), and bitter (to the taste). ... It was used of personal
experience when something was unpleasant and undesirable. 'In our
language the concept of mental bitterness comes from the idea of
something that has a sharp or unpleasant taste. We speak of
something bitter if it causes us grief or is hard to bear.'
Bitterness is just resentment that has been held onto. It has become
rancid or rotten. [Bitterness] leads to murder in a different form.
Each of us has an inner sense of what is right, or fair, or just.
When that is violated a natural result is to react, to right the
wrongs and correct the injustices or to become bitter" [source].
Bitterness is a Poison
"No man can live
with bitterness; it is the poison of the soul. It can completely
transform the character of a person. Hardness, severity,
unforgiveness, and hatred will characterise the person who is
bitter. The poison of bitterness will come out in one's speech,
since the subject of conversation flows out of personal hurts and
injury. Vindictiveness will be expressed toward those who are
considered responsible for the injury"
[Carroll Thompson, The
Bruises of Satan].
"There's a famous
saying, 'Bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping the other
person will die" [source].
Bitterness is a Root
"Bitterness is a
Roots do not directly manifest or make themselves known, but
are a source of nutrition or fuel for other elements that are on the
People who have a root of bitterness find it easy to get
upset over things that others are doing around them.
it is easy
for them to look at the circumstances around them as the source of
their problems, rather than seeing how they are handling those
circumstances. Instead of letting it go and forgiving, they let it
get to them, and it devours them alive. This is a very common route
by which demons enter people today.
Demons thrive on bitterness
and unforgiveness, and its a wide open door for them to move right
in on a person and develop many spiritual, mental and even physical
"What is a root? A
root is a source, or a bubbling fountain that is laying under the
surface. Roots do not directly manifest or make themselves known,
but are a source of nutrition or fuel for other elements that are on
the surface. You don't usually see a plant showing off its root
system, but if the plant didn't have a root system it wouldn't
survive. A root's job is not to manifest on the surface, but to brew
under the surface and fuel things that are on the surface"
"A plant's root
system... where does the root dwell? Under the surface of the soil.
Can everybody see its root system? No, because it's hidden under the
soil or surface. The same is true with bitterness in a person's
soul. It is a hidden element that lies under the surface, and out of
it springs up anger and other negative emotions against others and
against the circumstances around us. People who have a root of
bitterness find it easy to get upset over things that others are
doing around them. It's like a brewing fountain that lies beneath
the surface, waiting to fuel something that is on the surface"
Bitterness is Unforgiveness
"Bitterness, or unforgiveness, left
to take root and grow will encircle and enslave us, blot out the
light and kill everything good in our lives. It will leave us
slashed and bloody when we encounter it. It fights eradication,
springing back to life at the least provocation. Bitterness - our
refusal to forgive - will create a great, thorny hedgerow where once
there was a garden ... Often dealing with one unhealed hurt that
we've allowed to grow unchecked will take out an entire web of
trouble and grief" [source].
"Not forgiving will make us very
bitter, Being bitter will poison every area of our lives. And it
will affect our relationship with God. We must forgive and not
"Are you going to
be bitter the rest of your life because someone else insists on
being in sin? That does not make any sense at all. You may say, 'I
will forgive him when he says he is sorry, but not until then. I
have a right to my bitterness until then. When he says he is sorry,
I will forgive him and everything will be fine.' You keep this
wall of bitterness up, and one day he comes to you and he says, 'I'm
sorry.' Can you forgive him now? No, because bitterness
doesn't forgive. In order to forgive this person when he says he is
sorry you have to be ready before he says he is sorry
And if you are ready to forgive him before he says he is sorry, then
it doesn't depend on whether he says he is sorry or not. In other
words, you get rid of the bitterness unilaterally. It does not
matter what the other person does"
Bitterness is Hurt
"The opposite of
forgiveness is bitterness. Bitterness is caused by taking our hurts
too personally. We decide that our hurt feelings are more important
that anything else, especially the offender" [source].
just resentment that has been held onto. It has become rancid and
rotten ... When one becomes offended or disappointed by others and
allows the hurt to germinate in the heart, bitterness and resentment
will take root. This is characterized by an unforgiving spirit and
generally results in a negative critical attitude which is sinful
and self-defeating. Such bitterness when allowed to fester, will
destroy and kill" [source].
(easily hurt/offended) --> resentment --> bitterness --> hatred -->
Bitterness is the Root of Other Sins
"Bitterness is a
devastating mental attitude sin, and it triggers a wide range of
other sins such as: Hatred, Cruelty, Antagonism, Self-pity,
Unteachableness (implacability), Vindictiveness and a desire for
revenge, Prideful ambition (arrogance)" [source].
"Bitterness is one
of the most destructive and dangerous of all human emotions and if
not dealt with, will spiritually destroy the person who has it: (1)
It can rob you of your peace and joy; (2) It is an open door for
Satan to control your life; (3) It can lead to the loss of good
friends; (4) It can hurt or destroy your family relationships and
can even lead to the breakup of your home; (5) It can make peace and
harmony impossible; (6) There can be no true biblical love where it
exists; (7) It destroys any true relationship with the Lord and will
keep you from growing in the Lord; (8) It will defeat you and ruin
your life and the lives of those around you" [source].
Bitterness is an Open
Door for Demons
"Demons thrive on
bitterness and unforgiveness, and it's a wide open door for them to
move right in on a person and develop many spiritual, mental and
even physical bondages" [source].
Bitterness Defiles Others
"We need to deal
with the roots of our bitterness before they spiral out of control
and lead others to becoming sick with it as well" [source].
"The last thing we
want to do is discourage other believers or spread the contagion of
envy and anger, leading them astray. Rather, we should be those who
bring a good word of praise and thanksgiving (Proverbs 12:25), for
we are bearers of good news, not bad news, and certainly not bitter
"After heading out
into the wilderness for three days under the hot desert sun and
having found no source of drinking water, the Israelites came to
Marah (Exodus 15:22-23). Yet Marah was named Marah, or 'bitter'
because of the bitter, undrinkable water. Even with the unimaginable
thirst that the Israelites would have possessed, this kind of water
was still utterly repulsive, and it could not bring refreshment or
satisfaction. If bitter water is really this awful and nauseating,
then we must recognize the gravity of James' exhortation (3:1) that
we avoid springing this nastiness forth and offering it up as
drinking water to others. The obvious result should we do this is to
leave others nauseated, angry, and repulsed when we should rather be
pointing them to the refreshment found in Christ" [source].
"In time bitter
people will burn themselves out and their kingdoms will disband.
Sometimes the bitter person will repent and return to the grace of
God. Sadly, however, they often are unable to reverse the effects
of the angry seeds they planted in the hearts of those that were
closest to them. It is in the lives of their friends, and especially
in their children, that the harshest fruits of planted bitterness
will be seen" [source].
Bitterness Remembers Details
"Before we can get
rid of bitterness, we have to realize that we are bitter. How can we
tell if we are bitter? One good rule of thumb is this: Bitterness
remembers details. You have thousands of conversations in your
life, most of which you have forgotten. But this one took place five
years ago, and you remember every single word, his intonation, and
the inflection of every part of his voice. You know exactly what
happened - which means you are bitter.... [you] have concentrated on
how right [you] were and how wrong the other person was. If someone
has a sharp, detailed memory for things which happened years ago
when he was a child, or a young man or woman, and that memory is
at all accusative of anyone else, then it is an indication of
bitterness. And the solution for bitterness is to get rid of it" [source].
"It is amazing
when an entire family is devoted to Christ, there is no strife
between each other, and when there is, it is quickly resolved. Sadly
that is not the case for many families. I remember a time when my
father and aunt did not speak to each other for years ... Why?
Bitterness. ... Bitterness can really destroy a relationship,
including our relationship with God aswell. ... My aunt still cannot
get over the bitterness; even yesterday she reminded me of something
that happened 15 years ago. What a waste of life, to be so bitter
that life has no joy at all. If she would only go to Christ she will
find joy in her life, before it is too late" [source].
A Seed of
"God's law concerning judgment says that
we will be judged the way we judge others, and we will be measured
with the same ruler we have used to measure others (see Matthew
7:1-2). A bitter root has as its origin a seed of judgment, and I
believe that one of the most insidious seeds of judgment we can
plant is a judgment against our parents. Why our parents? Because
God told us to honor our parents and when we did life would go well
with us. But if we dishonor them, the root of bitterness begins to
grow and one day we will look up and notice that the seed we sowed
has multiplied and we have reaped the bitter fruit of judgment. If
you are a parent of young children, you know that it is impossible
for your children to understand why you do some of the things you
do, and why it is not right for them judge you when you know they
don't have the whole story. They will understand when they mature.
Likewise, it is the same with the judgments you may have leveled
against your own parents. God knew that you would never understand
the depths of their pain, the hurts inflicted upon them by their
parents, who in turn had sinful parents, who also had sinful
parents, all the way back to Adam and Eve. So God, right up front,
in the first of the Ten Commandments which deals with relationships,
says to honor our parents, and Paul tells us why in Ephesians 6:1-3:
'Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor
your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a
promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long in
the land' ... Whether our parents were right or wrong in the way
they lived and in the way that they raised us, our critical judgment
of them is ALWAYS wrong"
"After being truthful with ourselves, we
must then be truthful with others. James 5:16 says, 'Confess your
faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be
healed.' This confession needs to include the bitter seed we
planted against our parents, and the bitter fruit we have reaped and
dispersed within the church. Remember, bad fruit springs from a bad
root, and a bad root is seeded in judgment. This confession will see
the healing of a bad root, then a bad tree, and finally bad fruit.
When this confession takes place then life will start to fall into
anger, and unforgiveness are serious sins in God's eyes. If your
brother indulges these feelings, they will separate him from God and
expose him to judgment (Ephesians 4:30-31; cf. Isaiah 59:1-2). In
addition, these feelings can eat away at your brother's heart like
an acid and leave him spiritually, emotionally, and physically
scarred (Psalm 32:1-5; 73:21-22; Proverbs 14:30). Since this damage
can occur even if someone is mistaken in believing you have done
something wrong, out of love you should go to the person and do
everything in your power to resolve the matter. This may require
either confessing your own wrongs or helping that person realize
that there is no basis for the complaint. Although you cannot force
someone to change his or her mind about you, make every effort to
'live at peace' by clearing up misunderstandings and removing
obstacles to reconciliation (Romans 12:18; cf. 14:13-19). This may
require repeated attempts and great patience, but the benefits to
both of you makes it well worth the effort" [Ken Sande, The
Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict,
"(1) Have you been harboring ill
feelings deep inside your soul that are now beginning to affect your
spiritual life? Have you been feeling 'dead' on the inside as a
result of your tight hold on bitterness, unforgiveness, and offense?
(2) Who is that person or group of people against whom you have been
harboring these feelings? Did those who offended you do anything to
you that you haven't been guilty of doing to someone else in the
past? (3) Has it helped you to hold on so tightly to these feelings
of unforgiveness? Has bitterness improved the quality of your life?
Have your relationships become richer and fuller as a result of your
clinging to offense? What fruit has been produced in your life
because you've allowed these negative attitudes to fester and grow?"
Getting Rid of Bitterness
"Why is it we do not get rid of
bitterness? If I tell a lie, I can confess it and be forgiven. In
order to get rid of it I have to bring it back to my own heart. We
need to bring the realization of bitterness back to our own hearts.
Instead, the temptation is to look at the offender. Look at what
he did. That is the nature of bitterness. In order to get
rid of it, I need to recognize it is my problem before
I can confess and forsake it"
"We have a choice,
we can be bitter about the situation we are in - or have been in, or
we can move forward knowing that Jesus is with us. He truly is the
truth, the life, and the way, and as long as He is with us we can
overcome any bitterness that we have, even from years ago. If we let
go of any bitterness we have deep inside we will see joy ... Romans
5:10-11 says we are reconciled with God for every sin and find joy
through all our pain, including any bitterness we have, through our
Lord Jesus Christ. Praise God!" [source].
"Robert E Lee,
after the civil war, visited a home in Kentucky. The lady of the
house pointed to a limbless, battered tree trunk standing on the
front lawn, and said, 'Before the Union army came through here, that
was a beautiful, magnificent magnolia tree. Then they blasted it
with their artillery, and that's all that's left. What do you think
about that?' She expected the General to sympathise with her
and criticise the Union army. But instead, he looked at her and said
in one sentence, 'Cut it down, my dear Madam, and forget it.' it is
better to forgive the injustices of the past than to allow them to
remain, let bitterness take root and poison the rest of our life.
How about you? Do you have some trees of bitterness standing in your
life? Bitterness towards God? Towards others? Towards yourself? Cut
them down and forget them"
your sorrow may be so great that bitterness is still hiding in you
even as you give it to God. Do not give in or give up! Continue to
give it to God each day, and also each time it arises in you. It
will lessen in time and you will be a victor because of His strength
in you ... even if you are struggling with a long term agony -
choose to let go of it into God's faithful arms. Your circumstances
may never change, but He will help you release and let go of your
bitterness" [Encouragements from
the Piper's Wife, 29 June 2011].
"You know the sin
of bitterness you harbor... It helped drive the nails into the
Lord's hands and feet. It helped shove Him down on that old rugged
cross, it helped beat Him until His body and face were a mass of
sores and torn flesh. We had a real part in His suffering and
death... Do we deserve to be forgiven? Truly we do not, yet He
forgave us ... Can't you, for the love of Christ, forgive someone
who hurt you? Can't you, for the love of Christ, give the matter
over to the Lord? Even someone who continues to hurt or offend you
and who is not deserving of forgiveness?... You must release then
from the debt you feel they owe you"
"The invitation is
simple: As Christ loved you... so love your neighbor, no matter what
the sin against you... forgive them and put it aside. Turn the
matter over to the Lord, ask Him to forgive you for your bitter
feelings and forgive that person"
"Identify; Confess; Repent; Renew the mind; Reconcile if possible;
Make restitution when possible; Forgive; Depend on the Holy Spirit
for strength; Depend on the love of God towards you"
"Lord, thank You
for speaking to my heart about getting rid of bitterness,
unforgiveness, and offense. I know from experience that these
attitudes are a killer to my spiritual life. When I am filled with
bitterness and unforgiveness, I become a sour hostage to my
memories. When I am consumed with offense, I lose my joy and peace
and my relationships with other people are horribly affected. I
thank You for giving me all the faith I need to deal with this
issue, Lord. Today I am asking You to help me start the process of
ripping those foul roots out of the soil of my heart and soul. I
pray this in Jesus' Name!" [source].
"I confess that I
genuinely wish to be set free from bitterness, unforgiveness, and
offense. I am weary of the way these poisonous roots have produced
their deadly fruit in my life for so long. I am ready to do whatever
[you require of me, Lord] to rip those roots clear out of my heart
so they won't be able to resurface in my life again. By the power of
the Holy Spirit and the authority God has given me, I repent of
these detrimental attitudes that have been killing my joy, stealing
my peace, and nullifying my spiritual life. By faith I am walking
free from these enemies of my soul. I declare this by faith in
Jesus' Name!" [source].
acknowledge that I've held resentment and bitterness against
______________. I confess this as sin and ask you to forgive
me. I forgive ______________. Remind me, Lord, not to hold any more
resentments, but rather to love this person. Father, I ask you to
also forgive ________________. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. In Jesus' name, Amen"
Fruit of the Holy Spirit
"There is nothing
bitter about Jesus. Nowhere in His life on earth was there a hint of
being cold, callous, cynical, frustrated, angry, or resentful.
Rather, He was a giver of life an joy, and every encounter others
had with Him pointed them to the praise of God"
"The fruit of the
Holy Spirit does not include heaviness, bitterness, discouragement,
disillusion, anguish, sadness, dejection, or loss of productivity.
Consider these points: Love is free from bitterness, Joy pushes
bitterness out, Bitterness can not coexist with peace in the soul of
the believer filled with the Holy Spirit, Longsuffering gives the
ability to deal with bitterness and other troubles, Gentleness,
goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance are fruits of
righteousness, which is divine good. Divine good takes the place of
Thus saith the LORD,
Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask
for the old paths, where is the good way,
and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls