Bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.
It is hardened anger at someone, something or some entity that you believe or perceive has mistreated you, treated you unfairly, caused you severe pain and/or grief. It doesn't start as a tree with roots but as a seed that is planted.
Satan is seeking to sow seeds of darkness in our lives, hoping that we will water them and let them grow into trees that will bear fruit that will not glorify God and thus work against our destiny. Offense is one of those seeds that, when planted, shoots up out of the soil of our soul when we feel mistreated, unappreciated or overlooked. The writer of Hebrews says it "springs up" because offense happens quickly; in a moment it will spring up, but it has no root system yet. We can deal with offense quickly. It is easy to pull out of the soil of our hearts.
Bitterness, however, is when offense grows roots. Think about weeding out your garden versus clearing years of brush from an overgrown yard. Both are possible, but one is a lot more work. We want to do the work of dealing with offense before it grows roots.
When we fail to pull out that weed of offense when it springs up, it begins to grow roots that wrap around our hearts and minds. Those roots carry a deadly poison that will "defile" our souls. That poison is called bitterness. It's a poison that leaks into every part of our lives. Soon those bitter roots will produce bitter fruits. It will come out every time you talk about certain people. It will rear its ugly head every time you hear about that certain place. Whatever you hold bitterness against will preoccupy your thought life. That person, place or thing will preoccupy your memory of the past, your thoughts about the present and your plans for the future. It is like you can't get away from them.
Not only will it poison you, but it will also begin to poison other relationships. Bitterness loves company. This is how it "defiles many." It is like a toxic substance that splatters onto everyone around it. Paul told Simon the magician that he was caught in the gall of bitterness. Gall is the dark-green/yellowish fluid produced by your liver that breaks down fats from the food you eat in your digestive system. The gall of bitterness is the toxic slime produced by a wounded heart that breaks down relationships, assignments and destiny.
The gall of bitterness will stall out your destiny, like swimming in a tank of sludge. Bitterness causes you to only be aware of the negative narrative about a person, organization or entity. It latches on to offense and unforgiveness and fills in the entire story about that person, place or thing with the negative narrative.
Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth will speak. When we speak about places or people that were involved in that past offense, we compulsively speak negatively about it or them. The more we talk and think about our bitterness, the more we water that weed that is now becoming a tree.
If you let bitterness take root, the wounds will fester, and you will stay stunted and angry, constantly blaming everyone else for the condition of your heart. To learn how you can avoid this, listen to the MAPS Global podcast on the Charisma Podcast Network or read the full article here.
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