Why do people become bitter?

Bitterness is simply the result of not seeing suffering from Godís perpective.


Some purposes of suffering:

Seven Steps to Turn Bitterness into Forgiveness

1         Repent of termporal values.

2         Thank God for the Offense.

3         View your offender as ďGodís agent.Ē

4         Learn Godís purposes for suffering.

4.1         Suffering is Godís way of GETTING OUR ATTENTION!

4.2         Suffering is our assurance that GOD LOVES US!

  1. Hebrews 12:6-7 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?
  2. Hebrews 12:10-11 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

4.3         Suffering is Godís call for SELF-EXAMINATION!

  1. I Corinthians 11:28-30 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.

4.4         Suffering is Godís way ofCONQUERING OUR PRIDE!

  1. Proverbs 13:10 Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
  2. Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
  3. Proverbs 29:23 A man's pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.

4.5         Suffering is a reminderofOUR WEAKNESS!

  1. II Corinthians 12:7-10 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

4.6         Suffering is our motivation toCRY OUT TO GOD!

  1. With our voice - Psalms 3:4 To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. Selah
  2. Daily - Psalms 86:3 Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long.
  3. In humility - Psalms 9:12 For he who avenges blood remembers; he does not ignore the cry of the afflicted.
  4. With a pure heart - Psalms 66:18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;
  5. In praise - Psalms 56:9-10 Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praiseó

4.7         Suffering is our evidence ofSPIRITUAL WARFARE!

  1. Ephesians 6:11-12 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

4.8         Suffering is Godís methodofPURIFYING OUR FAITH!

  1. I Peter 1:6-7 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

4.9         Suffering is Godís increasing ourHATRED FOR EVIL!

  1. Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

4.10      Suffering is our reminder toPRAY FOR OUR AUTHORITIES!

  1. I Timothy 2:1-2 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

4.11      Suffering is our signal toREEVALUATE PRIORITIES!

  1. Psalms 127:2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat-- for he grants sleep to those he loves.

4.12      Suffering is Godís means of TESTING OUR WORK!

  1. Matthew 7:24-27 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
  2. I Corinthians 3:13,15 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's workÖIf it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

4.13      Suffering is Godís way of SIFTING OUR FRIENDSHIPS!

  1. Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

4.14      Suffering is Godís call to IDENTIFY WITH CHRIST!

  1. Philippians 3:10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

4.15      Suffering is our motivation for OPEN ACCOUNTABILITY!

  1. Judges 2:20-22 Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel and said, "Because this nation has violated the covenant that I laid down for their forefathers and has not listened to me, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the LORD and walk in it as their forefathers did."

4.16      Suffering is our preparation for COMFORTING OTHERS!

23.    II Corinthians 1:3-5 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

5         Compare what you owe God to what your offender owes you.

  1. The unforgiving servant - Matthew 18:35 "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."
  2. Colossians 3:12-13 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

6         Distinguish between forgiveness and pardon.

  1. Forgive but not pardon
  2. Micah 6:8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

7         Voluntarily invest in the life of your offender.

  1. Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
  2. Matthew 5:40-41 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.


Forgivness Worksheet

1.      What things are causing my bitterness?

2.      How does my bitterness reveal ungratefulness?

3.      How are my offenders Godís agents?

4.      What are Godís purposes for my suffering?

5.      Have I considered my debt to God?

6.      Have I separated forgiveness from pardon?

7.      What ďtreasuresĒ can I invest in my offender?

q      Pray for him.

q      Greet him with a smile.

q      Praise his positive qualities.

q      Defend him to others.

q      Express appreciation to him.

q      Meet a basic need he has.

q      Others: