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The Bitter Pill of Bitterness

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32 (NKJV)

Have you ever attempted to swallow an aspirin only to get it lodged into your throat?  You try to drink a bottle of water, but it just doesn’t seem to dissolve fast enough.  Or maybe you’ve experienced the bitter taste of a Dramamine tablet in your mouth.  Again, no matter how fast you seem to swallow these little pills, they tend to leave a trace taste of bitterness.  Fortunately the taste of the pill will subside and soon be forgotten. 

There is another type of bitterness we can encounter as well.  This is the bitterness caused by the emotion of anger.  And just like the lodged pill within our throat, and the bitter aftertaste of the pill on our tongue, bitterness can choke us and twist our countenance so we are ineffective in our Christian walk.  We are told in Hebrews 12:15, to look carefully lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.  

The word, “Look (ing)” used in this verse is translated from the Greek word, “episkopeo, ep-ee-skop-eh´-o, and it means to be diligent in looking carefully at our self, so no root of bitterness gets inside us, because it WILL defile many people around us.  Think about the times you may have talked with someone who was bitter, or perhaps you were the one bitter about something. Think about the conversation, and what was spoken.  I can almost guarantee it was not good.  We all know this because we have all been guilty of this at some point or another.  

It is so important not to allow bitterness to consume us, because it will cause us to stumble, and in turn we will cause others to stumble.  Jesus put a great emphasis on this as well.  We see His words recorded in the Book of Matthew. 

Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24 (NKJV)

This passage of Scripture is powerful and should cause us to understand the severity of bitterness in our life.  God is saying, “Hey, don’t come worship me with your praise in song, tithe, or any other gift of worship, until you have resolved your angry heart and the bitterness you have against your brother.”  The funny thing about this passage is that some people actually obey half of it, as they decide to stop coming to church services — instead they choose to stay home with a bitter heart, grumbling against anyone and/or anything. 

Here me in this folks — bitterness is a deadly poison never satisfied.  It kills our Christian witness.  It kills our ability to do God’s work, because we are quenching the Holy Spirit. It obstructs our relationship with God, because we are sinning against Him.  When we think about the consequences of bitterness, I think we would all conclude that it is not worth it.  

I want to encourage you today to ask the Lord if there is anyone you need to forgive, or ask forgiveness of.  I have heard many people say, “I never realized how bad I felt until I was healed.”  

STUDY QUESTION: According to the Scriptures in this devotional, what can we learn with respect to being bitter?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Is there anyone you are bitter towards?  It can be outward actions or even just within your heart when you think of them.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:  Freely choose to forgive anyone for anything they may have done to you or to a loved one, and allow God to strip the bitter root from your heart. Choose to pray for this person instead.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Father, Thank You for Your forgiveness of my sin.  Thank You for not being bitter towards me. Help me to see if there is any root of bitterness within me, and help me to get rid of it.  In Jesus’ precious name, amen…


Be Blessed, Pastor Scott




Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000