Beating Bitterness

By Dr. Norman Wise

Executive Director of

Living Water Counseling

Send questions and request for digital copy of the note to:

norm@revealfellowship.com

Beating Bitterness

A biblical and psychological practical study on how to get bitterness out of our lives.

Posted by Norman Wise on Monday, July 27, 2020

Get Rid of all Bitterness!

[Eph 4:31-32 NLT] 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Overview

Bitterness towards others

Not justified – Reality check

Justified – Gospel applied

Bitterness towards self – Regret

Not justified – Reality check

Justified – Gospel applied

Bitterness toward God

Not Justified – Reality Check

Mystery Accepted in Gospel light

Psychology of Bitterness

Simple Definition and understanding – Bitterness is what I see as righteous anger towards someone that kept me from gaining success, abused me, wounded me, oppressed me, hurt me, and wronged me recycled endlessly in my mind and with each recycling of what they have done and/or doing this becomes within me an inner rage and hatred towards the person that feels just and right.

The more often this person hurt me or took from me then the deeper the bitterness becomes and the longer I have this stored up justified anger, then the more powerful and deep rooted the attitude of bitterness becomes.

10 Lessons on Bitterness – Dr. Carsten Wrosch

Lesson #1 –  Bitterness follows unwanted experiences, failures, disappointment, setbacks, wounds, abuse, and loss that ware perceived to be beyond one’s control.

Lesson #2 – Bitterness occurs when one believes, rightly or wrongly, that other people could have prevented the undesired outcome, abuse, loss, or failure. 

(Regret comes when we blame ourselves for these unwanted outcomes)

3-Bitterness much like other destructive and negative emotions could forecast or encourage physical disease.

4-One way to overcome bitterness is to determine the likelihood of the negative outcome being reversed by a new effort.

This could happen if the person that caused our pain and failure now aids us to succeed.

Or if in the present this person cannot hinder us so we can now still regain what was lost

5.  Accept the reality that what was lost or suffered cannot be regained, and redirect your concern to a new goal that would be free of the person who abused you or stopped you or  if this person has admitted their wrong, is now working with you to gain your new goal.

6.  The person who has been a victim of another person’s wrongdoing, immoral behavior, abuse, hurt, lack of love, and selfishness has to either:

Find the person “not guilty

Forgive the person because Christ has forgiven them – That is release them from your “righteous anger” and give them over to God

The Key Answer to Bitterness

Text Box: Find the person “not guilty”
Forgive the person because Christ has forgiven them – That is release them from your “righteous anger” and give them over to God
 

Bitterness towards others

Not justified – Reality check

Justified – Gospel applied

Bitterness towards self – Regret

Not justified – Reality check

Justified – Gospel applied

Bitterness toward God Not Justified – Reality Check

Mystery Accepted in Gospel light

Send questions to normwise@revealfellowship.com

Get Rid of all Bitterness!

[Eph 4:31-32 NLT] 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Let God Be The Judge

[Rom 12:17-20 NASB] 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath [of God,] for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. 20 “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.”

[1Pe 2:23-25 NLT] 23 Jesus did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. 24 He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. 25 Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.

Two Ways We Get Justice

Just and Appropriate Punishment in Hell.

Jesus Christ suffers the hell

for your pain

Remember that you have been forgiven

[Luke 23:34 NLT] 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.

[Col 3:13 NLT] 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you.

Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Stage One Forgiveness & Stage Two

Stage One Forgiveness

Unilaterally release their offense to God

Pray for them

Bless them

Entrust them to God’s judgement

Confront them if safe for you

Love your enemy

Trust God to use YOUR pain

Stage Two- Reconciliation

[Luke 17:3-4 NLT] 3 So watch yourselves! “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. 4 Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.”

The Gospel Grid to beat bitterness

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Love Your Enemy as God loved You

[Mat 5:43-48 NASB] 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ 44 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on [the] evil and [the] good, and sends rain on [the] righteous and [the] unrighteous. 46 “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing [than others?] Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

The Gospel allows us to show mercy

[Jas 2:13 NLT] 13 There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.

Who made you judge?

[Mat 7:1-5 NLT] 1 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2 For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. 3 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

Who made you judge?

[Jas 4:11-12 NLT] 11 Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. 12 God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?

God is greater than our hearts: Let go of regret

[1Jo 3:20-21 NASB] 20 in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;

Beating Bitterness

Remember how much you were forgiven

Lose your “self-righteousness” – “I would never”

Preach the gospel to your own soul

Write out a “lamentation” before God about the harm done and then burn it before God releasing it to God’s judgment.   Tell your conscience you have sent it to a higher court.   This should be an emotional vomit journal before God letting out every bit of pain, anger, and frustration.

Tell yourself you are a survivor of the abuse and you plan to live in the now in a sane, stable, and spiritual way.  You will not give power of your present over to the one who abused you.

Important Boundary

If the abuse and harm are ongoing

They are not a past event but a present daily reality

You need to find ways to avoid the one who is hurting you or giving them opportunity to hurt you

In family situations this may mean finding a way to separate until healing can be accomplished

You don’t want to return evil for evil

You can request a person stop, but if they will not do that then you have to strive to avoid the person currently and consistently hurting you.

Bitterness Towards God

[Rom 8:32, 35, 38-39 NASB] 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? … 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Bitterness towards God: The God Wound

Prayers of Lamentation- Write your own lamentations https://annarborvineyard.org/participate/spiritual-formation/writing-a-psalm-of-lament/

The ”Job” Process – Bible Project Cartoon on Job – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GswSg2ohqmA&feature=emb_logo

A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis

10 Lessons on Bitterness Continued – Dr. Carsten Wrosch

7 – Older Adults Experience more disappointments and this can increase the tendency to get bitter.   Also the potential to recover from abuse, loss, and failure caused others becomes less likely.   

We will get better or bitter.

8 – Letting go of the past, believing that God works all things together for some greater good, and that today God still has potential and purpose for us can help older people avoid getting bitter and instead become better, wiser, and examples of maturity

9- Older adults who don’t let go of their bitterness may be compromising their health and most definitely will limit their happiness.  Bitter people have a hard time having positive relationships or attracting people to be their friends.  They cannot see what they could accomplish today.

10- If you cannot get rid of your bitterness through a process of preaching the gospel to yourself, releasing your righteous anger to God, emotional vomit journaling, and seeking to live in the now instead of the past, then see a counselor to help you.  Call Living Water at 954-726-2302 in Fort Lauderdale and 561-614-4501 in Lake Worth

Summary

Bitterness towards others

Not justified – Reality check

Justified – Gospel applied

Bitterness towards self – Regret

Not justified – Reality check

Justified – Gospel applied

Bitterness toward God

Not Justified – Reality Check

Mystery Accepted in Gospel light

Send questions to normwise@revealfellowship.com

Bitterness towards God: The God Wound

Prayers of Lamentation- Write your own lamentations https://annarborvineyard.org/participate/spiritual-formation/writing-a-psalm-of-lament/

The ”Job” Process – Bible Project Cartoon on Job – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GswSg2ohqmA&feature=emb_logo

A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis

Sources

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/08/the-psychology-of-bitterness-10-essential-lessons/244064/

Ten Essential Lessons on overcoming bitterness

Beating Bitterness

By Dr. Norman Wise

Executive Director of

Living Water Counseling

Send questions and request for digital copy of the note to:

norm@revealfellowship.com