Confronting and Overcoming Bitterness!

There are three areas where you may have to confront and overcome bitterness:
1) God – Many times this happens when we pray and it goes unanswered. Sometimes, He answers our prayers, but different than we initially expected. Some people never pray to God any more because they do not believe He exists. That one crucial need they were believing for wasn’t met, therefore He must not exist. How can you be bitter with a God who doesn’t exist? We are dealt a bad hand, and we do not know how to play it well. We blame God for things that happened, never hearing His side of the story. Being bitter with God never solves anything, but we must release our bitterness, knowing He has a much better plan than ours in mind. His grace can free us from bitterness, but if bitterness is rooted in our hearts, it will rob us of God’s grace. (Hebrews 12:15)

If a loved one passes away and goes to eternity to be with the LORD, your bitterness can prevent you from reuniting with them ever again! You cannot leave this life with bitterness. When John the Baptist, the man who claimed Jesus was the Lamb of God, was in prison struggling with bitterness, Jesus said, “Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me” (Matthew 11:6). As Jesus was dying on the cross, He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). You cannot leave this life in bitterness and expect to spend eternity in the presence of the LORD! We must allow His grace to heal us.

Bitterness with God can be rooted in not having a father. Since God is our heavenly Father, it is naturally translated in equivalence to our earthly father. If our natural father was abusive or abandoned us, then we will view Him the same way! Those people are not a father, but God is a true Father whose love drives out all fear! He gives you a new identity.

2 Corinthians 5:18-21 (NASB) says, “18Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

2) Other People – They have done something that we take offense too. It can be something that they said or didn’t say. It could be something that they did or we thought they did, but without discussing it we do not know the true intentions. We cannot live on eggshells and be offended over every little thing. This ultimately proves we do not have confidence in who we are in Christ. If something happens, it is o.k. to go to that person to get clarity so you can be healed, but you have an offense with like 30 people, more than likely it is not on the 30 people. That is when you have to check yourself!

When you forgive someone, you release them from guilt, but when you ask someone for forgiveness, God’s grace releases you. When you approach someone to mend the relationship, you do not go and say, “Well, you did this and this to offend me.” This is not apologizing. You search your own faults because a relationship is a two-way street. Even if it is simply saying, “I have had a grudge in my heart towards you, and I want you to forgive me.” That takes courage!

Our offenses can be the result of creating a storm in our minds, allowing one lie of the enemy to creep in and separate a positive friendship. These lies can be exposed through the proper approach in communication. Otherwise, you can misinterpret someone else’s actions and words to the point that you take it personally! Also, don’t pick at wounds God has already healed. If you are picking at them, it proves you have not forgiven or reconciled.

Matthew 18:15-20 (NLT) says, “15“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. 16But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. 17If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector. 18“I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven. 19“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. 20For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” Repentance and reconciliation automatically shift the atmosphere because it brings new bond among brothers and sisters in reconciliation. This unity of agreement and alignment allows for binding and loosing, executing the very authority on earth in accordance to what God has established in heaven.

3) Yourself – Bitterness can form an anger inside of you. You are mad at yourself for the mistakes you have made. You have held a standard over your life you couldn’t meet, and now you feel worthless. Never put a higher standard on yourself than what God puts on you. That is idolatry! When you enforce that standard on other people, it is religion! You struggle inside because of all of the mistakes you have made, and you have never been able to forgive yourself for it. But today is a new day! You cannot live in the mistakes of your past. This is what makes the sufferings of Christ so significant. He was bruised for our faults so we can be presented as blameless before Him. When you begin to recognize how much God really loves you, His love tears down those walls of bitterness that kept you introverted and away from people, enabling you to comprehend what your identity is in God. You are a son! You are a daughter! If God is willing to forgive you, how come you cannot forgive yourself?

Galatians 6:1-5 (TPT) says, “1 My beloved friends, if you see a believer who is overtaken with a fault, may the one who overflows with the Spirit seek to restore him. Win him over with gentle words, which will open his heart to you and will keep you from exalting yourself over him. 2 Love empowers us to fulfill the law of the Anointed One as we carry each other’s troubles. 3 If you think you are too important to stoop down to help another, you are living in deception. 4 Let everyone be devoted to fulfill the work God has given them to do with excellence, and their joy will be in doing what’s right and being themselves, and not in being affirmed by others. 5 Every believer is ultimately responsible for his or her own conscience.”
Confess your faults to be healed (James 5:16). You can never bring healing if you leave the hurt uncovered. It is God’s will for you to be healed emotionally, and we must give room for the Holy Spirit to function in His purpose as a Comforter over us.