One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after;
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life  (Psalm 27:4)
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Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them ...
is like a [wise] man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundations on a rock:
and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it:
for it was founded upon a rock
(Luke 6:47-48)

Let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
For other foundation can no man lay that is laid, which is Jesus Christ
(1 Corinthians 3:10b-11)

If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3)


Quotes and Comments

What is Bitterness?   |   Bitterness is a Poison   |   Bitterness is a Root   |   Bitterness is Unforgiveness

Bitterness is Hurt Feelings   |   Bitterness is the Root of Other Sins   |   Bitterness is an an Open Door for Demons

Bitterness Defiles Others   |   Bitterness Remembers Details   |   A Seed of Judgement   |   Some Questions...

Getting Rid of Bitterness   |   Some Prayers...   |   The Fruit of the Holy Spirit

Bitterness: Articles   |   Bitterness: Some Scriptures   |   Foundations: Index



What is Bitterness?

Definition: '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"

"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 taste'"

"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"


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"


Bitterness is a Root

"Bitterness is a root. … 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. … 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 it’s a wide open door for them to move right in on a person and develop many spiritual, mental and even physical bondages"

"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"

"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 become bitter"

"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
[EMcD: i.e. positional forgiveness]. 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" [source].


Bitterness is Hurt Feelings

"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"

"Bitterness is 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"

Hurt feelings (easily hurt/offended) --> resentment --> bitterness --> hatred --> murder.


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)"

"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"


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"


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"

"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 news"

"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"

"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"


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"

"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"


A Seed of Judgment

"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 God's order"

"Bitterness, 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, p.134].


Some Questions...

"(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?" [source].


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!"

"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"

"Wounded reader, 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"


Some Prayers...

"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!"

"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!"

"Father, I 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"


The 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 bitterness"




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
(Jeremiah 6:16)



© Bayith Ministries