One of the things that I am grateful that we learned in the last ten years of ministry is not to be combative with a bitter person. If someone has allowed a root of bitterness in their heart, the best defense is to keep your mouth shut, gain some distance in the situation, and pray. In the past I felt like I needed to defend myself, God, the church…whoever… Now I realize that defending bitterness makes you a part of it, whereas if you remain a loving, kind, non-gossiping person, in the end that will speak volumes.
I really try to guard my own heart against bitterness. It’s easy to get it inside of you and it’s something that you have to keep in check 100% of the time. Bitterness holds you back from experiencing all that God has for your life. Bitterness stops dreams, it limits growth, and it steals joy. Hurt is just a reality that we’ve all got to come to grips with. Welcome to the Club of Humanity. We all wound people and we’re all wounded. It’s not right, but it is a part of life that we’ve all got to get over.
My general rule of thumb is to keep a good distance between myself and people who are “always mad at somebody”. The matter of the fact is that if they are always mad at somebody, it’s just a matter of time until they are mad at you. In the church world, it’s called a “divisive spirit”. The Bible has lots to say about divisive people and none of it is pleasant. Titus 3:10 says, “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.” That’s pretty amazing if you think about it. A loving, welcoming, forgiving, amazing God tells us to have nothing to do with one of His own children if they are divisive…I’m pretty sure that if God Himself says that, it’s serious.
So, to all of the bitter people in the world…let bitterness go. And to the rest of you…let bitter people go.