Walking free from bitterness

What must we do in order to walk free from bitterness?  It isn’t impossible, but it does require that we submit ourselves to God.

Open yourself up to God’s conviction – Psalm 139:23-24

  • You must be willing to open yourself up to God.  It is not easy, but give Him access to every area.
  • Rest assured He will bring your sin to your mind.

Confess your bitterness to God – I John 1:9

  • It is sin to hold it in.  It’s not enough to talk about what that person has done.  You must give submit it to Him.
  • You probably have given this area to Satan for a while and it will not be easy to let it go.
  • When you think of something that someone has done to hurt you, confess it to the Lord.  You may have to do this over and over again, but submit it to Him until there is no pain associated with that memory.
  • Other memories will come to mind as well, and confess those also.

Don’t justify yourself or your anger – Matt. 18:21

  • We can think that it’s okay for us to be angry because what that person did was wrong, but Jesus said to forgive.
  • We want a reason to hold on to our hurt because we think it gives us control, but it doesn’t.  Instead it gives control to Satan.
  • We think we can protect ourselves by not forgiving but only God can truly protect us.
  • Our devotions, our prayer life, our relationships, and our worship will not be what it should be unless we confess it as sin instead of justifying it.

Forgive that person – Matthew 18:32-35

  • Our flesh again creeps here.  What we call forgiveness and what God calls forgiveness are two different things.
  • We think forgiveness is speaking the words and not demonstrating anger toward that person anymore.  We still hold onto a little bit and justify it by saying, “I’ve forgiven but I can’t forget.”
  • I challenge you to find that in Scripture.  Forgiveness means not holding something to someone’s account any longer.
  • I realize it may not be possible to immediately forget, but if you can still remember the exact thing over a period of time, you haven’t forgiven.

Confront the person if they have sinned against you – Matthew 18:15-17

  • At this point we must be careful.  First of all, our confrontation must be from a forgiving heart.
  • If you confront that person with bitterness in your heart, you will be rejected.
  • Your heart must be free from anger and bitterness.
  • Secondly, you must pre-determine what trespass has been committed.  Jesus said if your brother commit a trespass against you that you should confront him.
  • A trespass is a point at which someone has acted contrary to God’s law.  You can only confront someone about an actual sin.  In other words, you must have God’s word to show where he has sinned.
  • Many hurts are not actual trespasses but miscommunication, harsh looks, and things like that.
  • You are not allowed to hold personality conflict against someone, because love should cover it.

How do you know if you are free from bitterness? – I Corinthians 13:4-7

  • You are able to be patient without keeping a record of that person’s hurt.
  • You are glad when that person is blessed.
  • You can walk in joy toward that person.
  • You don’t get upset when remembering hurt.
  • You aren’t suspicious toward him.

Ebook on bitterness

Some have asked about Jim Wilson’s book on bitterness.  You can buy it here, and can find the free PDF version here.

The sin of bitterness

This morning we are going to take a detour from our series on the practical application of doctrine, although dealing with sin is one of the most practical applications we can make of doctrine.

What would you think if I were to tell you that I know the thing that is keeping us from being one of the most Spirit-filled churches in the area?  What if I told you that we could turn this city upside down, as the early church did in Thessalonica?  What if we had to have a new building because there were so many people joining and we had so many regular visitors?  Does this even sound real to you?  For most, probably not, but that’s because there is sin in our camp.  Just as Achan’s sin prevented Israel from being victorious against their enemies, there is sin among us.  That sin is bitterness.

At this point the question comes to mind, “I wonder who he’s talking about?”  I will go ahead and say who I’m talking to.  I’m talking to you.  Don’t think about someone else, don’t wish someone else was here or hope that so and so will hear the sermon.  Pray that all of us, including you individually will hear it.

What is bitterness?  It is holding on to the memory of someone’s wrongdoing rather than submitting it to God.  (more…)