There are various kinds of food in the world and most of us have a favorite that we enjoy more than others. Some people like sweet, some salty, and some others even enjoy sour food. However, I have not met many people who actually love bitter food. Perhaps, they are out there but for the most part, I would say that those people are in the minority. There is something about the bitter taste is just not very appealing. With a similar idea, many people enjoy being around those who are happy, cheerful, sweet, kind and positive. Who wants to hang around a bitter person? In fact, bitterness is like a poison. It not only destroys the person who harbors it, but it also negatively affects those who are in relationship with the bitter person. The most common source of bitterness comes from unforgiveness of another.
What then does God think of bitterness? According to Hebrews 12:15, God states that He does not want us to be bitter towards others “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you and hereby many be defiled.” God considers bitterness as sin in James 3:14-16. The apostle Paul describes it as one of the characteristics of the lost in Romans 3:14.
As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we should imitate His characteristics. He was gracious and forgiving towards the undeserving, and so should we. In Ephesians 4:31-32, Paul exhorted believers to put away bitterness, wrath, and anger because those are sinful in God’s sight. But Paul did not stop there, he went further to encourage believers to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving towards one another because God has so richly forgiven us for Christ’s sake. This is the best way to combat and remove bitterness from a person’s life.
One other aspect that can help a person to combat against bitterness is for him to have complete trust in God’s sovereignty and goodness over his life. As born-again children of the Most-High, we should have the confidence that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Even when others offend us or mistreat us, we should not allow bitterness to eat at our soul or try to find ways to get even with them. The Lord specifically commanded us in Romans 12:17-19 to “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
Living with bitterness is a miserable experience, and a child of God should never follow this evil tendency from the lost world. We have a great and loving heavenly Father, who cares for us, and will make things right in the end. We can learn to trust Him no matter what circumstances we might be going through.