Tag Archives: Ephesians 4:31-32

Get rid of all bitterness


What is the most destructive force known to man? Nuclear weapons? Deadly viruses? Super volcanos or earthquakes? Certainly, these are destructive forces, but I wonder if there are other equally destructive forces that we carry with us each day.


Consider the power of hate, anger, bitterness, cynicism, sarcasm, mocking, and unforgiveness. We’ve all experienced each of these and perhaps have expressed them ourselves at some point. For some, it becomes a habitual way of living to carry these destructive forces each day and use them as if they were tools to make us feel better. Instead they are acids that eat away at our joy. And besides making us miserable, stealing our joy, and ruining our reputation and legacy, they wreak havoc on others’ lives too.  Spoken or not, bitterness surely destroys a joyful and thankful heart.


I used to be an angry person. People who’ve known me for thirty plus years are surprised to hear it, because – for the most part – I got rid of it. Actually, it wasn’t my doing. I tried to temper my temper but anger controlled me, not the other way around. And anger led to bitterness, and bitterness to unforgiveness. It’s a relentless and destructive cycle that spins out of control. But one day, I found myself near the end of my rope with nowhere to go, except to look up and ask Jesus to take over. I’d done this before, asking God to take my burden, only to put it back on my shoulders before my prayer was over. Maybe you’ve done that too. But this time was different. This time, I could not take back the self-destructive burden of being bitter and angry. I just gave it up.


For the true follower of Christ, these destructive forces have no place in our behavioral repertoire. We’re not to put them on a diet or try to minimize their impact in our lives. We’re not to put them on a 12 step program. We’re told point blank to get rid of them, along with fighting, slander, and all kinds of malice.


God’s Word says our hearts are deceitful above all things. So it’s possible, even likely, to harbor bitterness and unforgiveness and not acknowledge it. Charles Stanley suggests a simple heart check to see if these destructive forces are lingering unnoticed:

“1. IF YOU HATE SOMEONE, YOU CANNOT SHAKE THE MEMORY. Does the scene play out in your mind over and over?

2. IF YOU HATE SOMEONE, YOU CANNOT WISH HIM OR HER WELL. Do you genuinely wish the best for a person who has hurt you?

3. IF YOU HATE SOMEONE, YOU WANT THAT PERSON TO HURT JUST AS YOU HURT. Do you secretly desire this individual to experience the same pain that was thrust upon you?”


If any of these or similar scenarios ring true, it’s time to ask God to search and purify our heart. Prayer and meditating on His truths are effective forces to counter hatred, anger, and bitterness. It’s not just a matter of study, but of asking the Spirit of God to get rid of the poison in our life; asking him for a heart that pleases him. And if bitterness has led to unforgiveness, there is only one solution: forgiving. After all, forgiving is for giving…to others and to yourself.


As a dedicated follower of Christ you and I are predestined to be conformed to the likeness of Christ (Romans 8:29). To do that we have to get rid of everything that doesn’t reflect His image. Don’t wait for the poison to complete its work. Today is the day to get rid of it…for good!


“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.” Ephesians 4:31-32


Let it go


 Someone said, “you will find that it is necessary to let things go, simply for the reason that they are heavy.”

“Let It Go,” from the hit cartoon movie Frozen: you either love it or hate it (because you’ve heard it so many times)! Regardless of how you feel about the song, the title carries a powerful message for life.

Have you ever carried a burden a very long time? So long that it has weighed on your ability to cope and get on with life? Some burdens we have to bear – and ask others to help carry our load. But some burdens can be set down at our choosing. It might be a hurt caused by someone else. Or it could be a hurt you caused yourself. It might be a grudge you’ve kept against someone…or against God. It might be a concern that has weighed you down but you’re afraid that confronting someone will make matters worse. There is a time for biblical confrontation and with a biblical motive of love. God wants us to be reconcilers and peacemakers. But there are other times when it is best to simply, “let it go.” Write it on a piece of paper, burn it and resolve to move on. Get over it. Why?


Carrying grudges or the burden of bad memories about someone is like a cancer that eats away at your soul; it creates bitterness, wrath and anger and impedes the path to healthier relationships.  (See Ephesians 4:31-32 “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger be put away from you.”)

Constantly focusing on past hurts robs us of seeing new life right now. Dwelling on past hurts creates a wilderness barrier that keeps us from seeing  a clear path out. (See Isaiah 43:18-19, “Remember not the former things. I am doing a new thing. I will make a way in the wilderness.”)

Letting past hurts control us keeps us from enjoying the good future God has planned for us. You can’t set off on a new journey with one foot in the boat and the other on the dock. Holding back keeps us from God’s intended best for us. (See Philippians 3: 12-14, ” I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”)


Ask God about the burdens you’re carrying today. Is it a relationship He wants you to try to reconcile? Or is it something you need to let go so you can move on?  Maybe it is time to put that heavy burden down and rest.


“Come to me all of you who are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.” Jesus, in Matthew 11:28




The Most Powerful Force in The World

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was YOU.

– Louis Smedes


What would you say is the most powerful force in the world? Money? Enough of it can certainly change your life situation, but not bring you the wealth of friendship. Knowledge? Knowledge can capture the minds of people but not their hearts. Love? Ah, love IS such a very powerful force. But our understanding of love is so diluted; we love chocolate, we love music, we love that new car, we love our spouse, we love our child, we love our Creator God. One word doesn’t quite fit them all, does it? But true love generates other forces that have the power to change who you are, how you see yourself, and how you see others. Forgiveness is one of those most amazing forces.

Forgiveness captures not only the mind but also the heart. It frees us to accept ourselves and others and to love more deeply. And the lack of forgiveness imprisons us. It holds us in the grips of bitterness and regret. There have been times when I wounded someone’s spirit deeply by a careless word, and yet was met by their unconditional forgiveness. A simple act of mercy on their part changed both of us. It freed me from the guilt of misbehavior and it freed them from the prison created by bitterness and resentment.

Probably the most familiar verse in all the Bible is John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”. Verse 17 explains God’s motivation for doing this: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

God’s forgiveness is available to all who believe in his son Jesus. He wipes the slate clean, past and present, and gives us a completely new life, here on earth and forever for all eternity. Such a powerful force is the merciful forgiveness of God.

Take a moment to ponder, is there anyone you hold a grudge against? Anyone you have offended? Seek forgiveness. Maybe it’s time you finally and completely forgive yourself for something in your past. If you’ve asked God for forgiveness, then why do you still hold yourself in prison? He has freed you. Go live your life in His name. Rest in His presence.

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32