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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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Hellen March 12, 2015 at 4:16 am

Thanks for the articles

Reply

Brittany Abston September 6, 2015 at 10:26 pm

Amen sister! Better not bitter! No matter what the circumstance is! You may think it’s the worst but Jesus will never give you more than you can handle. He is with us to help us get through the storms of life and to climb the tallest of mountains. Halelujiah

Reply

Doris February 4, 2016 at 6:13 am

Thank you so much for the article,
i beleive it will lead me to better from bitter
Doris

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Karen L. Willoughby November 19, 2016 at 11:28 pm

Thank you, Crystal, for writing about what to do when you’re bitter. It came to me earlier this week that I am a bitter person. I never would have thought this of me, but the person who used to be the epitome of kindness and grace has become a judgmental holier-than-thou person who lets very few people into her life because she doesn’t want to be hurt anymore. Yet if I think about it, I have been hurt so much less than so many others, and I have been richly blessed professionally and with friends. I need to deal with this bitterness. Please pray for me.

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Christine Ekmekjian January 22, 2017 at 8:21 am

I am going exactly through the same struggle as you Karen. I pray for you and for each one of us who are in need of God’s love and grace to let go of this bitterness once and for all!

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Jeanie C. March 21, 2018 at 9:01 am

Amen, I had an amazing ‘deliverence’ experience in my home yesterday, 3-20-18, after being led to listen to a very powerful message on YouTube! I had been feeling so weighted down with marriage issues that I wanted Real Relief from Holy Spirit. I came to realization to deeply & honestly do 1 John 1:9 and seek Father God in Psalm 51… I was so refreshed afterward &
this article tops it off, Crystal! I praise Him for your Ministry.

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Renee Inman September 20, 2018 at 6:01 am

What message on YouTube did you watch?

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Christine Ekmekjian January 22, 2017 at 8:18 am

Thank you so much for this article! As I am now feeling bitterness rooting in my heart and actions, I can see God’s love and mercy and how His words can be unfailing and helpful to me in the process of overcoming bitter to be better. IN JESUS NAME, Amen!

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Jamila February 12, 2017 at 9:29 pm

Thanks so much for the scriptures. I find myself to be bitter to the tenth power. I need spiritual guidance. God bless and be with you.

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kimberly carey February 23, 2017 at 11:13 am

I have been passed by again for a job and the bitterness has set in! This read gave me verses to read, pray and fast over.

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