I have a very frustrated brother who is struggling with bitterness but can't seem to conquer it and so he asked me for some advice. Today's davar (word) will hopefully help him and everyone else struggling with what is a very common issue indeed.
"Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Master: looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of Elohim (God); lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled" (Heb.12:14-15, NKJV).
Today's passage tells us two important things about bitterness:
This second point is a key to dealing with bitterness precisely because you can only identify it by dealing with what manifests 'above ground' in conscious-awareness and deeds. The bitterness itself is a root that is unconscious and therefore hard to get a handle on.
- 1. It defiles the whole soul; and
- 2. It is not a visible plant but a hidden root.
Bitterness arises in the soul when we allow bad things that happen to us to 'get' to us by not dealing with a trauma early on. Bitterness arises when we allow anger and resentment - the visible part above ground - to fester. Bitterness is caused by the unhealthy feelings that we allow to remain in us instead of nipping them in the bud. And the only way to do that is by forgiving the offender.
Bitterness is a very, very common spiritual malady. When demons get into a soul it's not because of any abuse we may suffer but our unwillingness to forgive. So many make the mistake of believing that if they can 'get back' at the one who caused the trauma (real or imagined) that this will make them feel better and the bitterness will dissapate. It never does. The trauma, though very real and in need of addressing in and of itself, is not the main problem: it's always the bitterness which demons feed off.
Those who have a root of bitterness find to their (and others') consternation that the littlest of things can set them off. It provokes irritability, anger, hatred, or resentment over the silliest and most trivial of things which wouldn't cause one who does not have a root of bitterness to bat an eyelid over. Instead of letting go of an abuse or trauma they hang onto it and so it progressively devours them alive.
How do you deal with bitterness? Find out what provoked it in the first place - it's always traceable to real or imagined events. Once you have identified them, forgive the peron or persons who perpetrated them against you. If you don't you'll be eaten alive, making you a person repulsive to those around you who will avoid you like the plague.
Of course, if you have been badly abused, forgiveness makes little or no sense at all because it is the reflex reaction to want justice. But then neither does Yah'shua (Jesus) dying for our sins on the Cross make a whole lot of sense either until you realise what it was the motivated Him: ahavah (love) of His Father and love for us sinners. He is not out for revenge for being put on the Cross but when there willingly. Yahweh's revenge is specifically against those who willfully and unashamedly vioate His mitzvot (commandments).
Why should we forgive those who abuse us? Out of ahavah (love) for the One who paid such a terrible price to enable us to be delivered and set free from the power of sin. Beyond that we need know no more other than Yah'shua (Jesus) makes it very plain that unless we forgive those who wrong us we cannot expect forgiveness from Him:
Bitterness, and the demons that manipulate and steer it, does, of course, appear larger than life and more complicated than it really is. The flesh likes to make a 'big issue' out of it when it isn't. Deliverance from bitterness is as simple as forgiving those who despitefully use us and who sin against us by consciously choosing with mind and lev (heart) to hold no debt-note against them. We release them from any debt we perceive they owe us for wronging us and let Yah'shua (Jesus) take care of them in His own time and way. That is forgiveness, and it's the only solution to poison of bitterness.
"And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us" (Luke 11:4, NKJV).