Bitterness

Beach ChairsEmotional unrest; resentment; even hate resulting from animosity, rage, grief, anger, hate or sorrow

Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is better to live in peace than in bitterness and strife. Confucius        

Growth in wisdom may be exactly measured by decrease in bitterness. Nietzche 

     Bitterness is mental food poisoning. It causes us to be mentally sick. It is often brought on by something that someone says or does. Bitterness and other negative emotion are not actually caused by outside forces; they are caused by our mental and physiological reactions. To be bitter on not is ultimately a choice we make.

     Bitterness is similar to hate; enough of it incapacitates us. When we are bitter, we can become sickened by our own poisonous toxins. These internally produced chemicals adversely affect our ability to function. Many of us can remember times where we were so overcome with bitterness, rage or anger that our ability to think and act rationally became very difficult. Extreme long-lasting bitterness can result from broken relationships and marriages. Some regrettably suffer from this type of bitterness for many years.

   Bad things happen! When they do, we have conscious as well as sub-conscious responses to them. The conscious reaction provides the opportunity to have control of our emotions, while the subconscious reaction tends to be automatic in response and emotional in nature. If we allow our subconscious to react too harshly, our brains will release negative bio-chemicals into our system. The more emotional the reaction, the stronger the bitterness and the worse the effect. Our emotions take over and seize control of us. We are unwise to allow this to happen. Bitterness takes us off course; out of our routine and can saddle us with physical sickness as well. Bitterness causes us to be a puppet on a string. We allow our subconscious reactions to pull our strings and take away the conscious control of our emotions…  

    When we are presented with a strong stimulus (an emotional event), we tend to respond without thinking. When we do not exercise any conscious control; we are reacting primitively.  We are not in control. Our reactions are controlling us. We should learn to respond to negative stimuli in a consciously controlled manner. Milder and more subdued emotional responses such as disappointment and concern are much more desirable than bitterness, hate or rage. The milder our emotional reaction, the more we stay in control and the better we can respond; getting past it and moving on to more important things. We should really try to avoid bitterness. It does nothing for us. We should take better care of ourselves than to succumb to its harmful effects.

Challenge:  Are you suffering from bitterness over something that happened? As you relive the event, feel the poisonous toxins effecting your mental and physical well-being. You do not purposely eat or drink things that cause you to feel this way. Anytime you allow bitterness to get the upper hand, in a sense, you are purposely poisoning yourself. Train yourself to take conscious control of your emotional reactions to things that happen.

Wisdom: Bitterness imprisons life; love releases it. Bitterness paralyzes life; love empowers it. Bitterness sours life; love sweetens it. Bitterness sickens life; love heals it. Bitterness blinds life; love anoints its eyes.  Harry Emerson Fosdick

Spiritual: (NIV)

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord, Psalm 31:24

When we engage in bitterness, we shut off ourselves from God’s power and love. We cannot be bitter while we are walking with the Lord. God helps us replace our bitterness with his love. That makes all the difference. It is hard to be bitter when we are experiencing love.  The more we have love in our hearts, the harder it becomes for us to allow any negative emotions to get the better of us. God gives us the power and strength to overcome them.   

Prayer:   Help me to avoid bitterness, hate, rage, and other negative emotions. Help me to have a spirit of love.

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