Bitterness is defined as anger and disappointment at being treated unfairly. It can be associated with resentment and hostility. It often leaves us with feelings of pain and distress.

When the Apostle Paul writes to the Church in the city of Ephesus, he starts giving them instructions for living out their faith. In this part of his letter, he tells them to rid themselves of destructive behaviors. The first thing he writes is, “Get rid of all bitterness.” (Eph. 4:31)

One of the biggest things Christians need to remove from their lives is the painful sting caused by disappointments. We thought life should have gone this way for us, and it didn’t. This can be directed at other people, but often it is turned toward God. We believe God is real, and that is the quandary; how could this God have allowed us to be treated this way?

Why did they have to get cancer? Why did he have to do that to our family? Why did I have to walk through that hurt and pain? All those questions result in us becoming bitter.

I often talk to people about guilt, shame, and remorse. Those are the feelings brought on by our failures and sins. Bitterness is the result of painful feelings created by the actions of others, including God.

If we follow God, our faith must come to the point where we trust that he is doing a mighty work in our lives even when we do not see or understand it. While we do not like how things went, we know he works for our good. When we doubt his goodness, we lean into the words of scripture that encourage us to trust him. 

There is no foolproof way to remove bitterness from the life of a believer, but there is a way for us to let it go. It requires a faith more immense than our circumstances in a God who is able to bring life out of death. The empty tomb reminds us that God can turn all bitterness into celebration.   

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