Bitterness and Disappointment

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), when there are downturned lines at the corners of the mouth, it can mean life has been disappointing. Of course, not everyone that has had disappointment has those lines but I sure do.

And, life sure has been.

Having disappointment after disappointment after disappointment can allow bitterness to set in. What is bitterness? defines bitterness as resulting from or expressive of severe grief, anguish, or disappoinment.

In Job 21:23-25 (AMP), two dying people are compared. One dies in his full strength,

being wholly at ease and quiet and satisfied while the other dies with a bitter soul,

never even tasting pleasure or good fortune.

Proverbs 14:10 The heart knows its own bitterness and no stranger guarantees its joy.

Bitterness keeps us from enjoying our lives and keeps good things from happening for us.

In Acts 8 (NKJV), the disciples are laying hands on the people and they are receiving the Holy Spirit. A man named Simon offered them money and said, "Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

Peter rebuked the man for wanting to buy the FREE gift of God. He told the man to repent "For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity (sin).”

I know from personal experience how damaging it can be to live with bitterness and unforgiveness. I like to say it's like taking poison and hoping your enemy will die. And it really is that harmful to us to live this way. ~Joyce Meyer

Bitterness is poison.

Hebrews 12:15 (AMP) See to it that no one falls short of God’s grace; that no root of resentment (bitterness) springs up and causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.

Bitterness can burrow down in our souls, the seat of our emotions, and create a root system that affects every part of our lives. From the root, a plant grows that produces bitter fruit. This fruit of bitterness can be seen:

  • In our reactions, causing us to behave in a way even we don't understand when certain things "trigger" us.

  • In our speech, not just the words but the tone in which they are spoken.

  • In our decision-making, making decisions based on our pain, rather than God's Will for our lives. (i.e., moving away from family or leaving a church or leaving a job)

  • In how we care about others, becoming cynical and self-centered; we stop caring about how our actions affect others. (i.e. cutting people off on the highway, being rude to someone at the store, etc.)

Bitterness in our lives can affect others. Our sharp words can cut. Our negative outlook can cause others to see things negatively. It can even cause our behavior to bring about disappointment in the lives of people we care about, possibly leading them into a life of bitterness.

Bitterness can take root and affect every part of our lives. It also affects the people around us.

In Deuteronomy 29 (AMP), God, through Moses, is making a covenant with the Israelites. He is warning them to stay away from the idols of the countries they have passed through. He says you've seen their detestable acts, their idols made of wood and stone, and them worshipping lifeless gods made of silver and gold.

He tells them not to let anyone do these things "so that there will not be among you a man or woman, or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the [false] gods of these nations; so that there will not be among you a root [of idolatry] bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood (bitterness).

1 Corinthians 10:14 (AMP) Therefore, my beloved, run [keep far, far away] from [any sort of] idolatry [and that includes loving anything more than God, or participating in anything that leads to sin and enslaves the soul].

The root of bitterness is idolatry. It leads to sin and enslaves the soul.

Ephesians 4:31 (AMP) Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor [perpetual animosity, resentment, strife, fault-finding] and slander be put away from you, along with every kind of malice [all spitefulness, verbal abuse, malevolence].

Paul says to let bitterness be put away. We have to allow it to be moved out of our lives. Holding onto the disappointments that caused bitterness to take root in our lives keeps us from ever healing and moving into the bette