“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
Hebrews 12:14-15 NIV
Other people may do and say things that we don’t like, but we are not responsible for them. We are not accountable for other people, but we are accountable for ourselves. We are accountable for our own behavior and attitudes. We are responsible for our own responses. We cannot change other people, they must change themselves, but we cannot allow them to affect or influence us negatively either. We must choose to walk in peace, no matter what choices the other person makes. If you allow someone else to make you angry and if you fight with them then you have given them power over you. They have the power to provoke you and get a response out of you. But if you refuse to respond in anger and you keep your emotions under control, then you will have the power and be in control of the situation.
The grace of God is extended toward you and others, alike. If you think that other people are your problem, then you will become angry toward them and if you do not deal with those emotions, you will become bitter toward them. Realize that your emotions are your own responsibility. Most times other people don’t even know that they have done anything to you to offend you, but you have allowed yourself to be angry with them and then this anger turned into bitterness. Bitterness is a root that will grow into a tree that will cause trouble for you and will cause you to be defiled. Ultimately, bitterness will bring destruction to your own life – not to anyone else’s.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:22-32 NIV
Bitterness is listed here with rage, anger, brawling, slander, and every form of malice. God tells us to get rid of it. There are people who are angry and bitter against someone. They never miss an opportunity to tell others what this person did to them. They continually sing the “somebody done somebody wrong song”. But the problem is that they are the only ones who are all messed up. The bitterness on the inside of them is destroying them. They have opened the door to sin in their own life, while they criticize the other person. Your bitterness eats you up on the inside and it opens the door to the devil in your life.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5 NKJV
Bitterness, criticism and a judgmental spirit go together. You are in dangerous territory when you judge another person, because you are setting a standard by which you will be judged. Critical, judgmental people always have big problems of their own. Either they are sinning themselves, or they open themselves up for sin to take control of them. Even if we are in a position where we have to help another person straighten themselves up, the Bible tells us to be very aware and careful of our own attitude even as we bring a correction to theirs.
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Galatians 6:1 KJV
You need God’s grace in your life on a daily basis. Don’t hinder His grace by allowing bitterness to have control of you. Stop the cycle and forgive and release whomever it is that you are bitter against. God will forgive you and His grace will be extended toward you.