The term “bitter,” when used in the Scriptures, is not typically a word used with favor. In fact, “bitter” is typically used to describe one who holds contempt for another, or how awful something is. When it reigns in the heart, sin is not far behind. Paul states in Ephesians 4 to “Get rid of bitterness” and instead “be kind and compassionate, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
A bitter taste is typically unpleasant, but after a while, it may become an acquired taste. Some foods and drinks that we typically consume with bitterness in them are grapefruit, beer, olives, unsweetened cocoa and coffee. Since “America runs on Dunkin” and Starbucks makes some bucks on their coffees, we know that many have grown not only accustomed to the bitterness, but enjoy it. Others who like coffee attempt to cover the bitter taste with creamer and sugar, sometimes adding up to 5 packets of sugar! Crazy.
The bitterness of our hearts can’t simply be covered up by sweet acts. Bitterness can only be altered at the source – the heart. It starts with seeking God’s forgiveness for our bitterness. When we hold on to bitterness, we are deliberately sinning against Him. Knowing that He loves us, He will forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from unrighteousness (I John 1:9). Did you get that last part? He cleanses us from unrighteousness. He removes the bitterness of our hearts when we humble ourselves before Him. He continues to remove the bitterness when we humble ourselves and seek forgiveness from those with whom we are bitter. This may not be possible in all circumstances, but when it is possible, to do so can be healing for us, too. Finally, as we humble ourselves before God and recognize that He forgives us and cleanses us, we, in turn, forgive others who have offended us or hurt us. Forgiving the other person, however, should come before seeking forgiveness from the offender.
“Rid yourselves of bitterness,” Paul states. When we do this, we become more like Christ. We become, well…. “better.”
On a similar note (yet also off topic), I have recently agreed to become a Consultant with a Cause with SOLUDE Coffee. SOLUDE Coffee removes some of the bitterness at the source. The gourmet coffee beans are air roasted from a patented technique so that the bitter taste that is present in most coffees is minimal. If you purchase through my SOLUDE web page , a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Foundations Christian Counseling Services. So here’s my shameless plug…“Rid your coffee of bitterness. It will be better.” 🙂