Bitterness · Cross · Forgiveness · Gospel · Grace

How to Get Rid of Bitterness

When we talk about bitterness, we need to first define it. We are not talking about a bitter cup of coffee or candy bar. We are talking about the attitude carried by some people. Bitterness often comes from feeling wronged. We get angry, disappointed, and become resentful of those who have hurt us.

If we are using this as our definition, we all have felt this way at times. Why? Because we all have been disappointed or hurt by others. If we are honest, we also have failed to meet the expectations of others. We all have created division between ourselves and others, and sometimes those we love. 

Bitterness really takes these disappointments and frustrations to the next level however.  It mulls on, hangs onto, and keeps the hurts. Before we know it, bitterness has taken us over, and what was an infraction by someone against us, now has become  a mountain out of hills created by moles. 

In fact, the author of Hebrews cautions us  that no “root of bitterness” takes hold of us. Hebrews 12:15 gives us a word picture of what bitterness can do. It doesn’t just enter and pass through us. It takes root and grows  in our hearts, psyche, and our spirits. 

What most people don’t realize is that bitterness is one of those sins which hurts the bitter person far more  than the offender. Often the original offender forgets that he has offended you, or doesn’t even realize it, and moves on with  life. In fact, Paul says that for the person that is bitter, it causes “trouble” and “defilement.”


The bitter person is the one who is often consumed.  A bitter man is the one that has been affected over time.  He continues to be frustrated, mull over, and think about the wrong that has been done to  him. So while you may be eaten up with bitterness, you struggle while your offender often does not.

Let’s consider  two quick ways to look at bitterness, and how to “pull the root of bitterness” out of your life in order to  move on. The first comes in that same passage of Hebrews 12:15. “Be careful that no one falls short of the grace of God, so no root of bitterness will spring up.” 


What is the first way to think about bitterness? Simply give grace. Grace is giving someone something that they don’t deserve. If you are a Christian, you have been given grace because while you don’t deserve forgiveness, God has given it to you through the cross of Jesus Christ. If you forgive someone, of their ill will towards you, whether they ask for it or not,  you are giving grace. This will help you get rid of bitterness in your life. 

The second thing, which goes hand in hand with giving grace, is to give forgiveness. Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness … be put away from you … forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”


To give forgiveness is a step in the direction to be free from bitterness. If you forgive, you can let go of the offense against you. That’s when you can start to see your bitterness dissolving. 

The apostle Paul gives us an argument  why Christians should forgive and put aside bitterness. He says you should always remember Jesus forgave your sins, so you should forgive others. No human has sinned against us more than we have sinned against God.

Who do you have bitterness towards? How can you attain forgiveness?  How joyful is your life if you are carrying bitterness? What would happen to you spiritually, mentally, and physically if you were able to pull the weeds of bitterness out of your life?

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