Before I begin talking about bitterness, I think we should look at what bitterness actually is.
Sharp; Cruel; Severe; Reproachful; Sarcastic; as, bitter words.
Sharp to the feeling; Piercing; Afflicted; Distressed; Hurtful; Very Sinful.
It is an evil thing and bitter. -Jer. ii. 19.
Mournful; Distressing; Expressive of Misery; as, a bitter complaint or lamentation.
Showing mental pain or resentment.
The state or quality of being bitter; Figuratively, extreme enmity; Sharpness;
Severity of temper; Biting sarcasm; Painful affliction; Deep distress of mind.
In the gall of bitterness; in a state of extreme impiety or enmity to God.
In other words:
Bitterness is, Remembering others' actions against you,
which leads to being unkind, because of their past actions against you.
The Bible is quite clear on the matter of bitterness, it talks about it in many places,
I will list only a few of those places here.
"But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee,
because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be
Purchased with money.
Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy
heart is not right in the sight of God.
Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God,
if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and
in the bond of iniquity." -Acts 8:20-23
Right before this passage Simon saw the apostles giving the Holy Spirit to someone by the laying on of hands.
He then asked the apostles if he could by this power from them, then in the passage Peter said no.
Peter then went on to say that Simon was in the gall of bitterness, clearly bitterness is being presented as a bad thing in this passage.
"What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise:
for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they
are all under sin;
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
There is none that understandeth, there is none that
seeketh after God.
They are all gone out of the way, they are together
become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues
they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
Their feet are swift to shed blood:
Destruction and misery are in their ways:
And the way of peace have they not known:
There is no fear of God before their eyes.
Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it
saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may
be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."
Here, it is talking about how all people are sinners, no matter whether you are a Jew or not>
It is talking about some of the characteristics of the world, that is to say, those who are not christians.
It talks about some of the consequences of doing wrong, it says that their mouth is full of bitterness, and that they are miserable and do not know the way of peace.
In most cases sin is pleasurable for a season, but bitterness is not even one of those times,
it clearly shows here that, even on earth, bitterness leads to misery, and that it exists without peace.
I think that I could understand it if bitterness was fun, but it is not, and I cannot understand why so many people give it place in their lives and in their hearts, to me it will always be incomprehensible, unable to be understood.
"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour,
and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving
one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
This verse does not need much explanation or clarification, it is written very clearly that we are to put away bitterness, and malice which is somewhat similar to bitterness.
This verse also gives us God's perfect cure for bitterness, which is forgiveness.
In Hebrews 12:15 it says: "...lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;"
This is yet another instance where the Bible says that bitterness will trouble you.
It is easier to forgive now, rather than later. When bitterness is inside, it gets harder and harder to get out.
in Colossians 3:19 it says, "Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them."
This shows us yet again that the perfect cure for bitterness is forgiveness and love.
We need to give others:
- When they ask for forgiveness.
- When they do not ask for forgiveness.
- and When they do not deserve our forgiveness
We did not deserve the complete forgiveness that God gave to us,
God has every right to be bitter against us for what we have done to Him,
but He is not bitter towards us, He is forgiving.
This is shown to us in many places of the Bible, I will place one of those accounts here,
The parable of the unforgiving servant.
"Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest>
And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pau the debt.
So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormenters, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."
I feel that this needs no further explanation, Jesus said it quite clearly.
It is not right for us to ask for forgiveness for so much, when we will not forgive so little.