The heart knows its own bitterness, And a stranger does not share its joy. Proverbs 14:10
In my ministry I am often called upon to minister to women that struggle deeply with anger and bitterness. The reasons for anger and bitterness vary greatly, however, the result of bitterness is never good.
Bitterness is not confined to any one group of women. Married, single, young, and older women become bitter because life is not giving them the fair shakes they feel they deserve. The bitterness is the result of either refusing to resolve hurt or anger in any way, or failing to resolve it biblically. The most common way of dealing with hurt is to ignore it. You can’t ignore it, you have to deal with it.
When you are hurt by something another person said or did, you should determine if the emotion or feeling is legitimate. Be honest with yourself and check your heart. Are you possibly being oversensitive? Do you know the motive of the other person? Is it possible that they were careless with their words or actions and never intended to be hurtful or offensive? If you learn the other person meant to hurt you, then you must learn how to handle such situations biblically.
Bitterness begins with unresolved, unforgiven anger and resentment, and it will consume you. If you believe that you have a right to something and that right is violated, then you are going to be angry. I would remind you that many of the things we consider our rights are only “rights” by our perception. You may perceive you have a right to something you are not truly entitled to.
When anger is allowed to fester and a person ruminates on their hurt the sad result is bitterness. 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.
Bitterness is disguised in many ways. One way bitterness is revealed in the display of self-righteousness. Sometimes it looks like “playing the martyr.” When a woman is bitter 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 tears people down with criticism and nagging and she is 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.
- “I work so hard here and no one cares!” This means I work harder than anyone else, and you are not paying attention to that!
- “If no one appreciates me then I am going to quit!” This means I deserve recognition and no one is giving it to me.
- “I do a better job and I am not recognized.” This means my motives are more for my glory and for God’s glory.
Bitter women are easy to spot for you can see it on their faces. You will notice 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 people say that they are fearful of approaching her because she looks like she will bite your head off if you try (Prov 5:4). She would be what the Bible describes as bitter in soul (Job 3:20, 21:25).
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. Bitterness is a road that leads to further pain and misery. If you are struggling with bitterness, I urge you to spend some time examining your heart. Because of Christ, you don’t have to live this way any longer.
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. James 3:14
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