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2 Honest Questions about Bitterness?

January 14, 2013

I am tempted to become bitter when I’m hurt. So are you.

But why? Why am I (and you) attracted to bitterness?

What does my bitterness actually cost me?

Bitterness is fascinating. How can we all struggle with something that consistently fails to provide happiness?


Anne Lamott said bitterness “is like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.” John Ortberg said, “I cherish resentment and bitterness because I want to hurt the rat that caused my pain. But after resentment and bitterness have festered long enough, I find out that the rat is me, after all.”

Ortberg continues, “To lick your wounds and savor the pain you will give back is in many ways a feast fit for a king. But then it turns out that what you are eating at the banquet of bitterness is your own heart.”

I don’t want bitterness to own any real estate in my heart. After all, the miserable track-record of bitterness is crystal clear. But I’m inexplicably drawn to bitterness. Why?

Why in the world am I (and you) attracted to it?

What does my bitterness cost me?

What do you think? What is it that attracts me to something so ugly? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.


From → Ministry

  1. Randy Wellik permalink

    In my world Bitterness is one of the islands in my Sea of Self-Pity along with Resentment, Abandonment, Isolation, Depravation and others. I find I can get in my little boat and row from island to island and some days when I leave my Savior on the shore I can reach all the pieces of hard ground in one day! Celebrate Recovery puts Jesus in the dinghy with me and we can’t find any ground to harbor upon and He calls it The Sea of Tranquility. Well it is time to grab my oars find Jesus and catch some fish. God bless.

    • Randy that’s a great word picture! Self-pity is seductive isn’t it? I’ve taken that lonely tour more than once. Thanks for this encouragement Randy.

  2. Bitterness is a cancer to your soul, and will destroy you if it continues to fester
    …You can surprise it, but it will not go away unless you deal with it. The old saying of you can’t hurt me, I’ll just get even….does not work!

  3. Hi Mark,
    I think we sometimes hang onto bitterness because we want to keep the offender imprisoned so we can continue to punish them…..having been there many times myself I find the pull to keep someone locked up can be tough to lay down. I have been considering what I want to Receive, what I want to Discard and what I want to Release. It is tough to lay down and release the bitterness and even when I do, I am tempted to pick it up again. But Jesus is my freedom…and Romans teaches me to Love others even when I don’t feel like it….I can choose to Release my bitterness by Love Actions to the offender and in so doing I am following the command of my Father, who knows my Release will be my Freedom.

    • I know that feeling Judy. Letting go of my bitterness can feel like I’m letting them out of my prison. It is tough to surrender and release bitterness and resist the urge to pick it back up again. Thanks Judy!

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