OceanSide church of Christ

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Bitterness
by: Dalton Gilreath

I.              Introduction

A.   Bitterness is defined as animosity, distaste, or a ďsourĒ disposition towards another over something real or imagined

B.   Biblically, bitterness is defined as discontentment

                                          i.    The Bible contrasts bitterness as the opposite of kindness

                                        ii.    It is like a root that springs up and affects you and those around you (Heb 12:15)

C.   Consider the causes, problems, and solutions to bitterness

II.            Causes

A.   Jealousy

                                          i.    Jealousy can cause strife and bitterness (Jam 3:14)

1.    Esau was bitter over his brother Jacob (Gen 27:34)

2.    He was jealous he received the birthright and blessing

3.    It took quite some time for Esau to get over it

                                        ii.    Adults can be like kids when it comes to jealousy

1.    We might be jealous over anotherís possessions

2.    We might be jealous over anotherís talents

3.    We might be jealous over anotherís popularity

B.   Selfishness

                                          i.    Humans are made of flesh and are naturally selfish

1.    We want what makes us happy and when we do not get our way we might become bitter at others, the world, or even God

2.    Consider Hannah who was bitter because she wanted a baby boy (1 Sam 1:10)

a.    There was nothing wrong with her desire but discontentment took over

b.    One can easily be overcome with bitterness over a selfish desire especially when it is a good desire

                                        ii.    Sometimes we become bitter at others because we donít get our way

1.    Maybe someone else got that job promotion you wanted

2.    Maybe you want children and the Lord hasnít blessed you with kids just yet

3.    We can either be bitter about it or continue to be content with the things we do have (Phil 4:11)

C.   Experiences

                                          i.    Bad things happen to everyone

1.    No one knows that better than Job

2.    He lost everything including his children and the faithfulness of his wife

3.    Naturally this led him to become bitter (Job 10:1)

                                        ii.    We can become bitter at life when we go through heartaches

1.    Maybe we lost someone dear to us tragically

2.    Maybe life is very stressful and full of disappointments at times

3.    Do we become bitter at the world? At God?

III.           Problems

A.   Bitterness can be private in certain situations (Prov 14:10)

                                          i.    For example, if you are bitter at someone then the only person that knows your bitterness might be that individual

                                        ii.    No one can help you sort out your bitterness because no one knows your struggling with it

                                       iii.    This can be a major problem when bitterness is allowed to grow unhindered in oneís heart

B.   In other cases bitterness can be publically detrimental (Heb 12:15)

                                          i.    When someone is bitter at the world that bad attitude will rub off on othersí

                                        ii.    Negativity brings others with you and can lead to their bitterness as well

                                       iii.    Remember that God hates those who sow discord (Prov 6:19)

IV.          Solutions

A.   Put it away

                                          i.    Paul says to put away bitterness and replace it with kindness 9Eph 4:31-32)

                                        ii.    Furthermore, he says that Christís kindness motivates us to put away bitterness (Tit 3:3-4)

1.    Again bitterness is the opposite of kindness

2.    Practice being kind to others and watch your bitterness go away

B.   Focus on the good

                                          i.    Bitterness is a matter of the heart (mind)

1.    It focuses on the bad things that happened

2.    Focus your mind on the good things instead (Phil 4:8-9)

                                        ii.    We must also remember that God can make good out of every situation (Rom 8:28)

1.    We may not always see it or like it

2.    This is where trust comes in as we are confident God will make the best of hard situations

C.   Rejoice

                                          i.    Habbakuk was filled with joy in an extremely difficult time (3:17-19)

                                        ii.    Paul says we must learn to be content in every situation we find ourselves

1.    Can we rejoice in hardships?

2.    Where are focus lies makes all the difference