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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

What Does the Bible Say about Bitterness and Resentment?

When you are offended or disappointed by others and allow the hurt to germinate in your heart, bitterness and resentment will take root. Characterized by an unforgiving spirit and generally negative, critical attitudes, bitterness and resentment are sinful and self-defeating. They will color your conscious and unconscious thoughts and actions. Allowed to fester, they will destroy and kill (Galatians 5:19-21). However, they can be dispelled with love.

What Scripture Says

"Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many" (Hebrews 12:14,15).

"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" (Ephesians 4:31,32).

"When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly" (1 Peter 2:23).

"Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing..." (Luke 23:34).

"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins" (Matthew 6:14,15).

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord. On the contrary: 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:14-21).

How to Be Free from Bitterness and Resentment

Like depression and other emotional stress, bitterness and resentment can aggravate or cause physical problems such as arthritis. You can be affected mentally, spiritually, and otherwise. Your relationships will always suffer.

God can free you from this sin. It is an oppressive and destructive emotion having its root in hate, which is likened to murder. You must repent. No one can have peace and happiness with such emotions tearing at him. If you have not done so, ask God to forgive you and to come into your life right now. He will deliver you from the power of the enemy (Psalm 91:3).

If you are already a Christian, you should still ask God to forgive you for being bitter and resentful. Then ask Him to forgive anyone who may have hurt you, and toward whom you are bitter or resentful, even as He forgives you.

Seek to be baptized with the Holy Spirit if you are not already. Look for opportunities to demonstrate love to the person who offended you.

God forgives and forgets sin. However, you may have made your best effort to forgive and forget and find that you cannot. God can help you to cleanse your memory. Instead of remembering with malice and hurt, remember with forgiveness. Then go one step further and ask God to forgive your offender. By forgiving and then asking God to forgive your offender, you release God to bless you and the other person.

As You Pray

Pray in this manner:

Father, I acknowledge that I've held resentment and bitterness against _______________. I confess this as sin and ask you to forgive me. I forgive __________________. Remind me, Lord, to not hold any more resentments, but rather to love this person. Father, I ask you to also forgive ______________________.

Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus' name, Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, please let us know. You can call our National Prayer Center at (800) 823-6053. We would love to talk with you and send you some literature to help you continue in your walk with the Lord.

Scripture references are taken form the New American Standard translation of the Bible.

References/Homework

BITTERNESS
Acts 8:23
Romans 3:14
Ephesians 4:31
Hebrews 12:15
James 3:14

ENVY
Psalms 37:1
Proverbs 3:31
Proverbs 23:17
Galatians 5:26
Genesis 26:14
Matthew 27:18

HATRED
Leviticus 19:17
Proverbs 10:12
Proverbs 15:17
1 John 2:9 1
John 4:20

MALICE
1 Corinthians 5:8
1 Corinthians 14:20
Colossians 3:8
1 Peter 2:1
Esther 3:6
Psalms 140:3
Isa. 59:4,5
Matt. 27:23
John 12:10
Acts 7:54

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