7 Bible Verses To Help Overcome Bitterness

by Crystal McDowell · Print Print · Email Email

A bitter spirit can happen to any one of us if we aren’t careful. A bitter root can grow subtly in our hearts long before the fruit of it rises to the surface. Unresolved anger, an unforgiving attitude, resentment, jealousy, and continued disappointment are just a few of life’s struggles that cause us to plunge into bitterness.

There is a remedy for the bitter spirit—it’s the healing balm of the Word of God. Taken in small doses over a period of time can release the tortured soul to know love, joy, and peace from the Holy Spirit. Study the following 7 Bible verses to help overcome bitterness:

John 16:33

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

When bitterness attempts to take over our hearts, we need to circle back to our Lord and remember that He overcame the world. While the Lord has promised us that He will never leave us—He never promised that life would be easy. Many times life doesn’t seem fair and we are tempted to give over to bitterness. Trials and difficulties will pass away, but God’s grace is given in abundance for those who lean and trust in Him through the tough times of life.

Psalm 51:10

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” 

Bitterness is never good for anyone, but especially for those who are in the faith. Giving our hearts over to bitterness means that we have resisted the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The Lord will reveal the sinfulness of bitterness in our hearts and compel us towards seeking His healing and forgiveness. We aren’t stuck in bitterness as long as we recognize our failings, repent, and humble ourselves to receive a new spirit from the Lord. 

7 Bible Verses To Help Overcome Bitterness

Proverbs 28:13

“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy” 

Once we recognize that bitterness has taken hold of our hearts, we need to confess it out loud to the Lord and to other mature believers. When Naomi returned to Bethlehem after losing her husband and sons, she asked family and friends to refer to her as “Mara” meaning bitter. Her situation made her bitter, but before the end—she was blessed by the Lord with a grandson. When people know how we really feel, they can pray and encourage us to overcome the bitterness inside. 

Ephesians 4:26

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry”

Many times bitterness is the result of unresolved anger. We could be angry with God, with ourselves, or with others. Anger that is not dealt with can easily become a dangerous bitter root in our hearts. We must be honest with ourselves when we are angry and pray asking the Lord for strength. Through the help of the Holy Spirit, we can have insight into the reasons we are angry and how to deal with them.

Colossians 3:13

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” 

There are believers who think they don’t need to forgive if they don’t feel like it. The problem is that keeping angst in your heart towards others tends to lead down the road of bitterness eventually. The Lord instructed His people to forgive, not only when they feel like it—but out of obedience to Him. We forgive as we have been forgiven—immediately. Forgiveness doesn’t remove the consequences, but it frees us from the burden of bitterness. 

Ephesians 4:31

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”

There’s only one way to deal with bitterness—get rid of it like you get rid of smelly garbage. Retaining bitterness has the same effect as smelly garbage to a home, it infiltrates every area of your life. As with garbage, you may become so accustomed to the smell that you may not even know it exists. However, anyone who visits will know it. Confess and repent of the bitterness in your heart so that the Lord can bring you to a better place of knowing Him.

Ephesians 3:17-19

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

No matter what the situation that brought on bitterness, the love of God can cover your heart and mind so that you can be free. By remembering and meditating on the love of Christ for you, you will long for His presence and peace. In the forest of bitterness, we forget how much we are loved. This love of God not only sent His Son to die for you, but it also wants the best for you in this lifetime.

Bitter or Better?

“Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.” (Proverbs 14:10).

Each of us has a choice to become better or bitter in our lifetime. The better is that God loves, forgives, and makes a way for His people to escape bitterness. The bitter is a lifetime wasted in regret and anger—burdened and burdening others. We were created for more. We were born again to conquer the world, Satan, and the flesh through the grace of God. Be free today from bitterness and be better!

More to read: Can a Christian be Angry and Not Sin?

Resource – New International Version Bible, The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblca, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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