Most of you I am sure have heard of the novel Moby Dick by Herman Melville. It tells the story of Captain Ahab’s relentless hunt for the great white whale Moby dick who had destroyed his ship and bitten off his leg. Ahab was obsessed with destroying the whale—his life revolved around his resentment, bitterness and the desire for revenge and it tarnished everything he did.
His bitterness had twisted him into a cruel and hateful person and the saddest thing about the book, and bitterness in general, is the fact that the real victim of Ahab’s bitterness and hatred was Ahab himself. His obsession had made him a most unhappy man and that is what bitterness will do to you. Do you know any bitter people? Those who have been wronged in some way in life and have allowed such to turn them into negative and critical people? Bitterness is a terrible thing for not only does it make us miserable, it makes those around us miserable.
Webster’s defines bitterness as an attitude unfriendliness, resentment and animosity. Doris black said that if we fail to overcome our resentment and animosity, it will likely develop into bitterness. Bitterness is a malignant form of resentment and anger and it is capable of spreading rapidly until it affects every area of our lives. It causes us to become harsh, reproachful, unpleasant and unfriendly. Do you know anyone that this describes? Do you know any Christians that this describes?
Bitterness can be the result of someone doing us wrong and getting away with it. It can be brought about by someone achieving a success that we feel we deserve and have not yet attained. It is often the result of the feeling that life has somehow been unfair to us. Regardless of what causes it, bitterness can rob us of our joy for life and make us unbearable to be around.
Bitterness can prevent us from practicing kindness and forgiveness (Eph.4:30-32). It can destroy relationships with our families, friends and brethren (Heb.12:14-15). And bitterness can cause us to put all of the focus in our lives on self (Jm.3:13-14). In the end, bitterness causes us to grieve the Holy Spirit, possess a heart of ingratitude, lack kindness and compassion and be unwilling to forgive.
So how do we overcome and rid our lives of this extremely negative emotion? While there is much I could say, let me just suggest that you stop often to count your many blessings. “Count your blessings; Name them one by one. Count your blessings; See what God hath done. Count your blessings; Name them one by one. Count your many blessings; See what God hath done. When it comes to the bitterness, anger and resentment of the world, God has the solution, be thankful in all things.”
Let us never forget that regardless of what trial or difficulties we may be experiencing, we will always have a great deal for which to be thankful. It is like the man who said, “I was sad because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.” Whenever you start feeling bitter about your lot in life, how about you stop for a minute and think instead about all of the blessings God has bestowed upon you and give thanks in all things.