Getting Rid of Bitterness

Have you ever heard the expression don’t get angry get even? Well, there may be a better way to deal with that unexpressed anger than vengeance. Let’s look at two negative ways and one positive way of responding to anger and bitterness.

First, there is unexpressed anger; holding it inside and letting it smolder. When we do this, the bitterness becomes like a malignant cancer slowly destroying the fiber of life. Then, there is uncontrolled expression of anger. Like an explosion it destroys everything in its range. Such an outburst is like an emotional heart attack and may produce permanent damage.

There is a better way. It begins by saying to yourself, “I’m extremely angry and bitter about what my spouse has done. But I will not allow their wrong to destroy me and I will not attempt to destroy them. I will turn my spouse over to God who is just, and I will release my anger and bitterness to God.” The Biblical challenge is “get rid of anger and bitterness” (Col. 3:8).

Confess to God that you have held your anger inside and that you are bitter. Ask His forgiveness for handling your anger in a sinful way. Then confess your bitterness to your spouse and ask forgiveness. Find a counselor or trusted friend who can help you release your spouse and your anger to God, in order to live a constructive life in the future. Let me admit that a one time confession of bitterness may not eliminate all hostile feelings. If the bitterness has been there a long time, the hostile feelings may die slowly.

Paul said, “Never pay back evil for evil… Never take your own revenge, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:17,19). You may have been greatly wronged by your spouse, but it is not your responsibility to punish them for their sin. They must face God with their sin, and God is a just judge. Verbal retaliation accomplishes no constructive purpose. Seeking the good of your mate, which the Bible calls love, has much potential for good.

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4 Responses to “Getting Rid of Bitterness”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you for posting this passage. Sometimes, holding in so much anger and bitterness disables us from processing other situations adequately. In my case, I was spending too much time suppressing or managing the bits of anger and bitterness inside so they just would not explode. It took so much mental and physical energy, it's overwhelming. I am working on focusing on myself and finding other sources of joy such as participating in activities, spending more time with friends and family.

  2. Tammie Says:

    I really enjoyed this post and it was a great reminder of how it's not up to us and we need to let go of things and turn it over to God. It's the only way to allow healing into the process.

  3. Jenn Says:

    I also enjoyed this post. I know I have troubles keeping my anger bottled inside, and it is not healthy. So, I am working on expressing myself in a positive way.I have linked your post with my readers at http://together-we-learn.blogspot.com . Thanks again for the information and insight!

  4. Kristen, Moody Publishers Says:

    Thanks for all the comments! And, Jenn, thanks for the link, that's great!

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