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Fighting Back Against Family Bitterness

Series: Strengthening Family Relationships

Nothing can damage relations with family more than bitterness/resentment. Bitterness often starts off small & grows bigger and bigger. Before long, it can consume everything in our life and destroy our happiness. The Bible speaks on this: Hebrews 12.14-15; Ephesians 4.30-32. 

I. Identifying Bitterness.

  1. Hebrews 12.15 – bitterness is described as a root. 
  2. But yet, many seek to bury the hurt/pain deep in their heart.
    1. Matthew 15.18-20 – it contaminates everything that comes out of us.
  3. How do I know if it has invaded my life?  Some questions:
    1. Is there a family member I can’t stand to be around? Avoid at all costs?
    2. Is there someone you cannot see any good in?
    3. Is there a temptation to think and speak evil of them?
    4. Proverbs 14.10 – we can know for sure if bitterness is a part of our life.
  4. What is coming out of me?
    1. John 7.38 – a contaminated spring cannot produce fresh water.
    2. James 3:9-12 – we must be willing to change.

II. The effects of bitterness.

  1. Bitterness contributes to a loss of joy.
    1. It robs you of life’s happiness and dictates your life.
  2. Loss of spiritual growth.
    1. Matthew 5.23-24 – bitter heart can make it near impossible for God’s word to penetrate the heart.
  3. Bitterness can lead to our taking vengeance.
    1. Sometimes the temptation to retaliate can be overwhelming. 
    2. Romans 12.19-21
  4. Bitterness leads to hatred.
    1. We think that we are harming others in holding these spites and hates, but the deeper harm is to ourselves.
  5. Bitterness leads to eternal danger.
    1. Colossians 3.13-14 – bitterness can lead to & become a sin of unforgiveness.
    2. Matthew 6.14-15 – speaks for itself.

III. The cure for bitterness.

  1. Acknowledge it.  
  2. Resolve the source of bitterness.
    1. Matthew 5.23-24; Matthew 18.15 – Don’t hold it in. 
    2. Go to the person…tactfully…in a spirit of love – Ephesians 4.32
  3. Pray about it.  Philippians 4.6
  4. Repent of sinful behavior. If we are bitter, we have fallen short. 1 John 1.9


  1. There is never justification for the Christian to be bitter/resentful.
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