The Beast of Bitterness


Bitterness over the past will rob us of joy in the present and growth in the future.  God’s plans for today are too grand to thrive in the arid ground of bitterness.  If we’re going to maximize our contributions to this world, we need to cultivate a heart that releases all of our days to the sovereign goodness of Jesus.

Unfortunately, our flesh loves the taste of bitterness.  We love to dredge up past hurts, the sins of others and our own regrets.  We obsess over what should have happened and rant against what did.  All of our ranting, obsessing and dredging accomplishes nothing other than damaging our own souls.

When my heart was embittered
And I was pierced within,
Then I was senseless and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.

-Psalm 73:21-22

All of our joy, hope and peace flow out of the gash in our souls created by the knife of bitterness.  We end up saying and doing dumb things.  We make bad decisions.  We’re irrational and brutish in our behavior.  All of which drives us deeper into bitterness.

Some say time heals all wounds.  Not true.  But Jesus does.

He pours the waters of grace over our bitterness and leads us to a better, more fruitful, place.  We escape the clutches of bitterness when we learn to take our eyes off the past and put them fully on Jesus.

Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
With Your counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:23-26

The hope of heaven is real for those of us in Christ.  We’re headed to a day when every sad thing becomes untrue.  Jesus is the joy of heaven and offers to be the source of our joy today.  God offers strength in our weakness.  He’s with us in the fiercest storms.  He guides.  He carries us through.

The gospel washes away bitterness.  But we need to choose.  Jesus, who heals all wounds.  Or one more day of the self inflicted torture of bitterness.

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