Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.Ephesians 4:31(NASB)
One of the most pervasive sins which too often feeds our fleshly attitudes and appetite is bitterness. Bitterness is often the root of many emotional outbursts and is too often birthed by a smothering resentment against the injustice or unfairness of another or due to problematic circumstances - some of which may be real while others may be perceived - some of which may have been avoidable and others unavoidable.
Bitterness is seen in this passage as a root that can morph into a number of other sinful attitudes and ungodly practices. It can smolder into deep-seated wrath or mushroom into explosive anger. It can be exhibited in slanderous speech, malicious gossip, or clamorous complaining.
But when bitterness is allowed to take root in our heart it can grow into a poisonous volcano that spews its toxic venom over all who pass by. Bitterness is also like a tree, which can branch into every area of our life and cause devastation, distress and destruction - to ourselves and to others.
But we are instructed to get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. We are exhorted to be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.
Kindness, compassion, forgiveness and grace were shown to us at the cross of Christ and they are the spiritual fruit that Paul tells us can halt and reverse the growth of bitterness in our heart.
The main component to annihilate bitterness in our heart and its ungodly sisters seems to be forgiveness. When genuine forgiveness is married to kindness, compassion and grace it deactivates bitterness and all its ruinous counterparts. When kindness, compassion, forgiveness and grace is sprinkled over the root of bitterness it will shrivel away and allow us to love in the same way that Christ loved us and gave Himself for us.
Heavenly Father, forgive me for any bitterness that I have harboured in my heart against You or others. Thank You that I have been forgiven by grace through faith in Christ. Help me to live my life as unto Him and help me to be slow to anger, quick to forgive and abounding in steadfast love, kindness, compassion, forgiveness and grace - to the glory of Christ in Whose name I pray, AMEN.
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