WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
OCTOBER 23, 2022
TOPIC: GET RID OF BITTERNESS
BY T. O. BANSO
“But Peter said to him, ‘Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity’” (Acts 8:20-23 New King James Version).
Bitterness is from the Greek word pikria, which is derived from a similar Greek word pikros. Pikriah means acridity (especially poison), literally or figuratively (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance). The Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries defines bitterness as “angry and unhappy feelings caused by the belief that you have been treated unfairly.” There are other definitions but this is the one relevant to this topic. Bitterness is often associated with anger and grudges. Bitterness is poisonous. It is toxic. Avoid it or get rid of it.
In Acts 8:23, Peter said that Simon the sorcerer was poisoned by bitterness. “For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity” (New King James Version). The New International Version says, “For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” And the Complete Jewish Bible puts it like this: “For I see that you are extremely bitter and completely under the control of sin!” Simon had offered Peter and John money to give him the power that anyone on whom he laid his hands might receive the Holy Spirit. This happened after the believers in Samaria received the gift of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of the apostles’ hands (verses 18-19).
Verses 20-23 say, “But Peter said to him, ‘Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity” (New King James Version).
I don’t know why Simon was bitter. Could it be because he had lost his power over the people of Samaria after they accepted Christ through the ministry of Philip, which made him also believe? Acts 8:9-13 says, “But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, ‘ This man is the great power of God.’ And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time. But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done” (New King James Version). Why was he poisoned by bitterness?
Bitterness is poisonous. Don’t habour it. Don’t let bitterness poison you. Guard your heart against bitterness. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (New International Version). Don’t entertain bitterness in your heart towards anyone. Protect your heart against it. The bitterness of the heart will become the bitterness of the mouth. The Apostle Paul says of sinners, “The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness” (Romans 3:13b-14 New International Version). Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34b). Don’t let your heart be filled with bitterness so that the words of your mouth will not be full of cursing and bitterness.
Resentment and bitterness are sometimes used interchangeably. Resentment is defined as “a feeling of anger or unhappiness about something that you think is unfair” (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionaries). Resentment or bitterness proceeds from unforgiveness. Unforgiveness and bitterness/resentment go hand in hand. Corrie Ten Boom is quoted as saying, “Forgiveness is the key which unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.”
Who treated you unfairly? Don’t be resentful or bitter towards the person. Eliphaz the Temanite, one of Job’s friends, said to Job, “Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple” (Job 5:2 New International Version). Although Job’s friends didn’t show him the needed compassion, there is truth in what Eliphaz said here. Don’t be a fool by harbouring resentment or bitterness; don’t let it kill you.
Proverbs 27:3 says, “A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, but the resentment caused by a fool is even heavier” (New Living Translation). The New King James Version renders the word “resentment”, in this scripture, as wrath. Don’t harbour resentment towards anyone because it destroys.
The effects of bitterness
1. Bitterness makes you unhealthy spiritually, physically, and emotionally. It can cause self-pity, selfishness, anxiety, sleeplessness, depression, premature death, or wickedness. The Good News Translation puts Job 5:2 this way: “To worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish, senseless thing to do.” Don’t let bitterness or resentment kill you or cause you to harm others.
2. Bitterness hinders your fellowship with God and man. Bitterness destroys relationships, including marriage and friendship.
3. Bitterness hinders answers to your prayer. Paul said in 1 Timothy 2:8, “I desire therefore that in every place men should pray, without anger or quarreling or resentment or doubt [in their minds], lifting up holy hands” (Amplified Bible). Pray without resentment or bitterness.
Unforgiveness will not allow God to answer your prayers because, in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to ask the Father to forgive us our sins as we forgive others (Matthew 6:12; Luke 11:4a). If you don’t forgive others and you say this aspect of the Lord’s Prayer, you are a liar. “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15 New King James Version).
Mark 11:25 says whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. Verse 26 warns that if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses nearly. Do you forgive others or do you harbour bitterness toward them? Ephesians 4:26-27 says you should be angry, and not sin; don’t let the sun go down on your wrath or give place to the devil. GOD’S WORD Translation puts it this way: “Be angry without sinning. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the devil any opportunity to work.”
Bitterness is a sin. Unless you see it as a sin, you will not repent and get rid of it. Ephesians 4:30-31 says, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice” (New King James Version). Get rid of bitterness. Don’t hold on to offences. Forgive yourself and those whom you believe treated you unfairly. “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11 New International Version). Put the past behind you and focus on the future. Love those who offended you. “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10 New King James Version).
Get rid of bitterness.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I repent of bitterness towards others and receive Your forgiveness, Father. Holy Spirit, I receive Your help to forgive those who have treated me unfairly. Father, restore whatever bitterness has destroyed in my life. I pray that You will deliver everyone who is being poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity. Let them be set free.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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