Ephesians 4:31-32“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
“Is it possible to be kind, compassionate, tender-hearted and yet bitter at the same time?” All these are Attitudes. It is not possible to be tender-hearted and yet bitter. Paul says to get rid of all bitterness and to be kind and compassionate one to another. Bitterness cannot co-exist with tender-heartedness.
God’s Word commanded us to get rid of all bitterness. Many people “enjoyed” holding things against other people, but God’s Word requires us to let go of all bitterness and maintain a tender heart. There are many people who:
- Not only are bitter.
- They enjoy being bitter.
- They somehow like it.
- They feed on it.
A bitter person would not know what to do if he gets rid of bitterness; he would not have a purpose for his life. We know of people like that in the world, and we know people like that in the Church. It is easy to recognize when somebody is bitter
- His eyes and the lines of the face reveal it. It can be seen in his face even when he is smiling and laughing.
- The tone of his voice reveals it. You can hear it when he protests that he is not bitter.
- The bitterness is central and pervades everything, his personality, speech, body language and his physical appearance.
It is relatively easy to detect when a person is bitter. But it is not so easy to see it in ourselves. It is therefore important to have a good understanding of what cause bitterness and the results that bitterness produce.
Bitterness is what a person feels when offended, whether real or imagined, against him. The very definition of bitterness points to the action of another. Bitterness is based on the offence or situation that relates to someone close to us. It is not concerned with how big the offence is; it is based upon how close the person is. Bitterness is related to those people who are close, for example: fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, children, relatives – grandparents, uncles, mothers-in-law, fathers–in-law, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, boyfriends, girlfriends, roommates, close friends, business partners, church leaders. There are also people who are bitter against God (Naomi – Ruth 1:13b, 20-21; Jonah).We get offended but not bitter against people who are outside our immediate contact. Bitterness is based upon somebody’s offence who is close to us and who did something to us. It might be minor. It does not have to be great, it just has to be close.
One of good rule of thumb is this: “Bitterness remembers details.”
- Accumulates – The offence may occur 5 years ago, but the person who is offended and is bitter remembers every word and detail of the offence. Bitterness accumulates.
- Review – How can a person remembers every detail of the happening – his memory is helped by review, review and more review of the offence. He mulls over the hurts. A person normally goes over the thing that hurt him.
- Right and Wrong – The person will concentrate on “how right” he is and “how wrong” the other person who hurts him was. Look what he did to me!
Imaginary Offence – Many times a person can be bitter toward another person for what he said, when in reality he misunderstood of what was said, or has not been said. Many bitter people cannot imagine the possibility that they are bitter over imaginary offences. As far as bitterness is concerned, the other person’s offence is always real. Genuine Offence – There are many bitter people who really were mistreated by the Offender.
To be continued….. Stay Tuned……