When anger isn’t handled well, it can easily turn into bitterness. Bitterness is a poison that can lead to physical and emotional problems. When you learn to handle anger in healthy ways, you can avoid the difficulty of bitterness. A compassionate Christian counselor can help you overcome this problem.
The Effects of BitternessEach incident of bitterness begins with hurt. Whether someone deliberately or unintentionally hurt you, the wound can run deep. If you deny it and don’t process it with forgiveness, the hurt you experience can turn into bitterness.
Bitterness saps your joy. It can steal away the goodness from your life. It paints a blue sky black and holds you in bondage. Bitterness hurts you far more than the person who originally hurt you. It can destroy your peace.
When held for a long time, bitterness can create health problems. You may experience headaches, tooth grinding, disrupted sleep, high blood pressure, ulcers, and other health issues. These problems can lead to serious health concerns like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. It’s important to deal with bitterness to avoid these health issues that can decrease your quality of life.
Bitterness doesn’t offer you any benefits. It can even cause distance in your relationship with God. A bitter spirit creates untold suffering. Often, a person struggling with bitterness can completely overcome with the help of a qualified Christian counselor.
Resentment in Relationships
Bitterness never affects just one person. If you are bitter, your bitterness spills onto everyone around you. Your negativity can cause others to avoid you. They may hear your stories of why you became bitter, then worry that you may become bitter with them for similar infractions. Bitterness can lead to damaged relationships in your marriage, in your family, in your workplace, in your church, and in your community.
We have all experienced hurt from another person. Some hurts are huge and may seem insurmountable. However, you can overcome resentment in relationships by receiving professional counsel.
You may even feel bitter toward God for a loss you experienced. It’s human nature to blame God for things that he could have made turn out in a different way. Your bitterness toward God could be creating big problems in your spiritual life. Your counselor can help you address the roots of the problem to find the freedom you need.
Forgiveness and Boundaries
The key to fighting bitterness is forgiveness. When you forgive, you let the other person off the hook for their wrongs. You can hand your hurt over to God, who will handle it with perfect justice. Then you can step into freedom instead of being held in the bondage of bitterness.
The person who wronged you doesn’t need to apologize or make amends to you for forgiveness to work its healing power. Forgiveness is an act of your will. It doesn’t require any contact with your offender. It is simply an act of faith between you and God.
Let’s say that the person who hurt you was your parent. Their wrongs may have had a negative impact on your entire life. You may be nursing a grudge against your parent, even if he or she is deceased. By forgiving your parent, you release the desire to get what you never had. You can surrender your hurt over to God, who will take your bitterness and replace it with peace.
If your offender is still in your life, you may need to set boundaries against inappropriate behavior to guard against further bitterness. Once you forgive, it doesn’t mean that reconciliation is required or even wise in some cases. You can forgive while placing boundaries of protection around yourself. Boundaries will help you choose freedom without getting hurt again and again.
Forgiveness and boundary setting are difficult steps to take on your own. You can gain perspective and practical help from a Christian counselor. Your counselor will listen to you, validate your concerns, and help you form a plan for getting rid of bitterness.
Bible Verses to Help You Fight Bitterness
To completely overcome the effects of bitterness in your life, it’s beneficial to meditate on Scriptures regarding bitterness. Once you learn what the Bible has to say about this problem, you can guard yourself against falling into the same traps as before. You can choose a better path with God’s help.
Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. – Job 7:11
Job suffered great losses though he deserved none of them. He decided to vent his bitterness to God instead of holding it in. This choice is wise for you too. When you vent bitterness in safe ways, you can find healing.
Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. – Psalm 71:20
Every person has difficult seasons that can feel bitter. But God promises to give us restoration. He wants us to place our hope in him so we can overcome our bitterness. He doesn’t want us to stay stuck in our troubles but to move forward with his guidance.
I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:19-23
When you are feeling resentful, this passage can offer you great comfort. God remembers the reasons for your anger and bitterness, even better than you. He knows that they tempt you to choose negativity instead of positivity. But he wants you to remember his goodness and faithfulness every day. He wants you to focus on the hope that each new day brings as you walk with him.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. – Ephesians 4:31 NIV
This verse makes it clear that bitterness is a big problem. God wants us to remove it from our lives so it does not develop into bigger problems. Work hard to remove it, and you’ll be in God’s will.
See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. – Hebrews 12:15
If you have a bitter root, it affects others whether you see it or not. By removing that bitter root, you preserve peace and faith among your relatives, friends, coworkers, and others. It’s worth the fight not only for you but for everyone else who is involved.
Anger Management TherapyDo you think that anger management therapy is only for people with out-of-control tempers, whose angry outbursts wreak havoc in public? This type of therapy is also helpful for those who deal with bitterness in less noticeable ways.
As stated earlier, bitterness can cause health problems and relationship problems. To get a handle on those issues, you may need anger management therapy. At Tacoma Christian Counseling, we can teach you healthy ways to remove any bitter root and handle anger triggers.
We will help you form new habits to replace destructive behavior patterns. Your counselor will walk you through the steps of grief to be able to forgive your offender. With our assistance, you can live a healthier, more connected life.
Consult with us to learn more about which therapies may help you most in overcoming bitterness. The caring staff of experienced counselors is ready to assist you today. Give us a call to set up your first appointment, where we will offer you healing and hope.
Photos courtesy of Leah Elliott, copyright 2020, all rights reserved