Bitterness Begets Bitterness

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice (Ephesians 4:31, KJV).

Bitterness is Satan’s secret tool to wreak havoc in people’s lives, including Christians. Aware of this, the Lord commands us to cast aside all bitterness. In this devotional, I will briefly describe what bitterness is and how a bitter heart leads to a bitter life—bitterness anywhere will create bitterness everywhere.

Literally, bitterness describes the sensation when tasting something unpleasant. The Lord uses the term metaphorically in Ephesians 4:31 to depict feelings of resentment or anger resulting from a perceived wrong. Thus, bitterness is a response to perceived wrongs. Some people also harbor bitterness towards life or God.

Hebrews 12:15 reveals a profound truth about bitterness: it does not remain dormant. It breeds further trouble and bitterness. In Proverbs 17:22 (ESV), Solomon asserts, “A joyful heart is a good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Bitterness, a form of a crushed spirit, dries up various aspects of life. It will dry up the bones in our emotional health, physical health, relationships, finances, ministry, etc.

More troubling still is that bitterness can exist in Christians. In Ephesians 4:31, Paul addresses believers. Sadly, silent bitterness can exist among believers in Christian communities. Some harbor resentment towards their pastors or leaders. Additionally, we also sometimes see ministers bitter with other ministers.

We must beware of bitterness individually and as a Body. Whether we are right or wrong in our own eyes to be bitter is irrelevant. Wherever bitterness is, it will spawn more bitterness, so the Lord commands us to put it away.


Are you resentful or angry with someone? Or are you in a difficult situation where bitterness is knocking at your heart? 

Apply the Word

God’s instruction is simple: eliminate bitterness and protect your heart from it( Proverbs 4:23). This means choosing forgiveness and purging bitterness. It’s challenging, but yielding to the Spirit—saying yes to the Lord—provides the needed strength. Guard your heart against bitterness, removing any traces if present.


Seek the Spirit’s grace to eliminate bitterness and protect your heart from it.

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