Bitterness can kill your marriage – Hebrews 12:15 Look diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God: lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled. (KJV)
The Bible talks about bitterness as a root, specifically an acrid, bitter poisonous root.Bitterness is a love killer, it is so important that we learn to talk about our feelings so we don’t bury them. Hurt that is not dealt with becomes bitterness. Couples cannot afford to let a lot of unresolved feelings pile up. The Word tells us do not let the sun go down on our wrath. Deal with issues, you won’t sleep well when you are angry anyway.
Here are some characteristics of bitterness; it has stages beginning with milder feelings of irritability, if not dealt with it moves to resentment, indignation and then anger from that you will develop feelings of hatred, then evil imaginations and finally cold indifference . This is often the point where couples no longer care and divorce is usually not far behind.
Here are some of the causes of bitterness ; 1) hurt, 2) offenses (Proverbs 18:19 A brother offended is harder to be won than strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle. 3) Fornication and sexual sins (Proverbs 5:4 describes the end of the life of a woman who lived a life of sexual sins -“her end is bitter as wormwood” 4) Being profane, godless, and sacrilegious like Esau who was bitter because of all he lost (Hebrews 12: 16,17) and finally 5) Unforgiveness.
Verse Verse 15 in Hebrews 12 shows us the process that bitterness develops… Look diligently lest… 1.) You fail of the grace of God (Fall back and fail to receive His grace) 2.) Roots of resentment and bitterness shoot up. 3.) If not rooted out, it causes you trouble and torment. Finally 4. ) You are contaminated and defiled.
Some have even continued until they were in the “gall of bitterness” which can lead to witchcraft and sorcery. Acts 8:23 (Simon)
There are consequences for living a life of bitterness:
A. Sickness, cancer, arthritis
B. Lack of grace, (defilement, trouble)
C. Linked with envy and strife
D. Spiritual Bondage
Certain spirits are cousins to bitterness and like to travel together – resentment, hatred, unforgiveness, violence, temper, anger, retaliation,
What is the cure ?
A. Change your thinking;
1. Remember- this is not about you, stop taking it personally. We are told that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, rulers of darkness and wicked spirits. Satan hates Christian marriages so you are in a war. In this life you shall have tribulation. Your spouse can be deceived and used by the enemy to hurt you. But we have all sinned and had times when we were operating in an ungodly way with ungodly attitudes. Remember how great your sin was and is, Jesus continually forgives you. (Matt 6:14, Matt 18:21-35). Try to see the person from God’s perspective. If for no other reason forgive for your own health, freedom, and peace of mind. Husbands have a particular warning not to be bitter against their wives. It will hinder your prayers. (Col 3:19) Bitterness will affect your relationship with the Lord, no one is worth hindering your relationship with God.
B. Change your behavior; 1. Confess bitterness as sin 2. Bind, renounce and cast off the spirit of bitterness and unforgiveness. 3. Make a quality decision to let it go. Whenever you think negatively about your spouse pray for them. The Lord tells us to pray for them that despitefully use us, hopefully it’s not bad, but we are called to pray for our enemies so surely we can pray for our spouses. As you pray the Holy Spirit will change your heart. 4. Determine to put off anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth, lie not to one another. (Col 3:8,9,10) 5. Put on… compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.(Col 3:12-17) a. Let peace rule b. Be thankful , c. Let the Word dwell richly, d. Teach and admonish each other in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs e. Sing in your hearts f. Do everything in the name of the Lord.
Wait until the two of you calm down, do not call names, talk about your feelings without blaming. Take responsibility for your feelings “I felt hurt when you said that”, focus on a solution. Each person take a turn to talk without interruptions . Pray together. Make your marriage a priority and learn some new communication and negotiation skills.
Learn how to communicate your feelings in the Communication’s chapter – “Do You Feel Me” in the “For Christian Lovers Only™ curriculum. We include exercises, discussions and homework that your small group or you and your spouse can review Keep on growing and learning to love one another.