“I loathe my own life; I will give full vent to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. Job 10:1
Yesterday we started to take a look at bitterness. Bitterness is a result of not dealing biblically with being hurt and angry. I left you with this thought, “When anger is allowed to fester and a person ruminates on their hurt the sad result is bitterness. Bitterness then, is the result of anger changing from an experience to a belief. Bitterness is seething and constant. Bitter people carry very heavy burdens as do angry people, and bitter people tend to “infect” those around them as angry people do as well.”
I think it would be good for us to examine the face of bitterness. We disguise bitterness as many righteous things and in so doing we are deceiving ourselves. The most common place we see bitterness revealed in the display of self-righteousness.
Self-righteousness is seen when a woman (or man) “plays the martyr.” In her speech you will hear statements like this:
- I work so hard here and no one cares (meaning I work harder than anyone else and you are not paying attention!)
- If no one appreciates me then I am going to quit (meaning I deserve recognition and no one is giving me what I want)
- I do a better job and I am not recognized (meaning my reason for doing what I do is for glory of self)
- Why should she have more children (meaning I should be the one who has more children, I am better than she is)
Her speech is often loaded with complaints and grumbling and whining about things that are not as she wants or believes they should be. She also tears people down with criticism and nagging. A bitter woman is usually not shy about telling her woes to anyone who will listen. She tends to wear people out with her constant complaining and moaning about the people she is bitter toward. Someone once said that a bitter woman is like a yapping Pekinese. (Ps. 64:3,4;
You will also hear her further compare others to herself. She may pick out physical characteristics, income, relationships with others, a variety of ways are possible for her to try and prove that she is better than someone else and often it will have a “Christian” bend as she attempts to justify herself to others.
A bitter woman is easy to spot for you can see it on her face. Her jaw is often clenched, her lips are pressed together and she looks angry all the time. There is a hardened shell around her that is almost visible. Often folks say that they are fearful of approaching her because she looks like she will bite your head off if you try! (Prov 5:4)
Therefore, another face of bitterness is loneliness. With all this whirling around her, she frequently finds herself alone for who wants to associate with someone like this? This only ads fuel to her fire as the problem is not hers; as she believes it is everyone else who just doesn’t seem to understand her. She would be what the Bible describes as bitter in soul. (Job 3:20, 21:25)
Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh. James 3:11- 12
The faces of bitterness come from the heart. A woman with a bitter heart is in deep spiritual difficulty because her heart has ceased to be focused on God or His good working in her life. The extent of her believing in God’s sovereignty often ends at her blaming God for her circumstances as Naomi did in the book of Ruth.
“When they came to Bethlehem, the entire town was stirred by their arrival. “Is it really Naomi?” the women asked. “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Instead, call me Mara, [meaning bitter] for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me home empty. Why should you call me Naomi when the LORD has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy?” Ruth 1:19-21 (NLT)
She was speaking to the townspeople when she arrived back home with Ruth. Could it be that they could see the changes in Naomi? Was her countenance so different after her ordeal in Moab that the hardness and bitterness of heart were visible on her face? I suspect so.
Tomorrow we will look into the heart of bitterness.