What to do when Bitterness Infects your Life

When something happens and you are wronged, does bitterness infects your life? What to do when you are bitter?
For several years somebody close to me wronged me, when I realised it bitterness took over my life. It took me eight months to work through my feelings and set it right. How to do it?


Although God forgave king David, the consequences of his sin were immediately seen in his household. Just as David had lusted for Bathsheba, Amnon, the king’s eldest son, desired his half-sister Tamar (2 Samuel 13). He lured Tamar into his private quarters and raped her. However, his guilt was too great for his conscience, and he despised her afterward. He dismissed her, and she took refuge in the house of Absalom, her brother.
2 Samuel 13:22 “Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar.”
Absalom harbored his bitterness towards Amnon for two years until an occasion arose to kill him. Absalom held a festival attended by Amnon. At the command, Absalom’s servants murdered Amnon.

If somebody did or say something bad to you or your family, feelings of bitterness can fester in your heart. Like in Absolom’s life, bitterness has its effects on life. What to do with bitterness?

Bitterness is a feeling of anger and resentment, caused particularly by perceived unfairness in suffering or by adverse circumstances.

Bitterness can be caused by:

  • Adverse circumstances like in 2 Samuel 13:36 “As he finished speaking, the king’s sons came in, wailing loudly. The king, too, and all his servants wept very bitterly.”
  • External circumstances – Lamentations 3:1–20
  • Human failure – Matthew 26:75
  • Bitterness is evidence of a sinful heart Acts 8:23 “For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”

Bitterness is to be avoided – Hebrews 12:15 “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
When we experience bitterness, we have to deal with it. The remedy for bitterness:

  • Pray and ask God to show you the bitterness you may have, ask God to help you to deal with that.
  • Forgiveness – Genesis 33:1–11; Ephesians 4:31–32 “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Forgive those who wronged you.
  • We have to leave revenge to God and let bitterness go, because the causes of bitterness will pass away – Psalm 37:1–2 “Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.”
  • Evaluate and see how bitterness infected your life.  What are the consequences of the bitterness.
  • If bitterness caused relationships and circumstances to be negatively affected (like in Absalom and David’s lives), go back and set it right, ask for forgiveness.