<<resentment, anger, hostility>>

A negative attitude outworked in reactions. This causes emotional and even physical havoc in the life of the one with this destructive crippling stance as they are held in spiritual bondage. 

Although seemingly justified, when our spirits receive hurtful blows from people or situations we must not allow self-pity and a "root of bitterness" or hatred to develop (Heb 12:15; 1 Jn 3:15). A root may be small but it grows and 'feeds' the plant, and as such any source of evil or bitterness is dangerous and it is critical for our spiritual health these roots are removed otherwise many people will be adversely affected. Bitterness (which produces anger) can be directed at people or God and is a very destructive force, giving Satan a legal foothold in our life (Eph 4:27).

It’s not so much what happens to us in life rather our reaction to those events that determine if we will become better or bitter – the choice is ours alone. Only by forgiveness, love and acceptance can we grow in Godly character.  We have no control over many things in life but we do have control over our response to them, by bringing all our thoughts into obedience to God (2 Cor 10:5). By telling God

The acid of bitterness is very corrosive

honestly how we feel, forgiving those who have wronged us, and being thankful and content with what we have, we will be able to see things from God’s perspective, as was Joseph’s testimony “You intended to harm me, but God made it work out for good” (Gen 50:20).  This shifts the focus from our hurt and how we have been wronged – either intentionally or unintentionally – to God’s purposes and the good that can result.

We don’t know the full extent of what is going on in the lives of others which maybe causing them to be so reactionary. Our responsibility is to deal with what is in us. We are told to “get rid of all wrong actions and to be kind and compassionate, forgiving one another as Jesus did” (Eph 4:31,32).  Holding on to bitterness will cause us more harm than the one to whom it is directed. Release comes by turning our eyes outwards to others in love and forgiveness, not inward with resentment. Face life’s difficulties, accept your cross and carry it for God’s glory, with the knowledge that whatever God allows in your life is an opportunity for growth and letting your Christianity be proved genuine (Lk 14:27).

Bitterness is simply the result of not seeing suffering from God’s perspective and allowing it to work for our good. When we experience a hurtful situation, we are faced with a choice – either to experience healing through forgiving or holding a grudge that will adversely taint all areas of our life, as we blame everyone and everything for the problem. The poison of a wounded spirit will infect others too. Come to Jesus for His healing grace (Ps 34:18, 147:3).

The Bible instructs, “Don’t pay back evil with evil but with good” (1 Thes 5:15; 1 Pet 3:9).

See also: anger, attitude, bondage, choice, forgive/forgiveness, hate, hurts, perspective, resentment, response, self-pity, wounded.