Why Bitterness Leaves a Bitter Taste

I remember when I was a child I had a book of children’s science experiments that could be done at home. One of the experiments was to take a small plant, roots and all, and to place it in a cup of water where the water had been dyed with red food coloring. The roots would suck up the colored water and you could see the red dye in the veins of the plant.

The purpose of the experiment was to show how the roots work to bring nourishment to the plant. However, the roots can also work against the plant by spreading poison.

Bitterness Brings Bondage

The author of Hebrews speaks of the “root of bitterness” in chapter 12 verse 15. Bitterness is indeed a poison that will sour the life of the person who lays claim to it. Ironically, it isn't the person who the bitterness is aimed at that suffers, but the person who refuses to let the bitterness go.

Bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
— Unknown

Like the red dye in the plant, bitterness will spread its poison throughout your life and soon you will be in bondage to it. In Acts 8:23, Peter confronted a man named Simon with the following words—“For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”

Bitterness leads to hatred, revenge, and even death—the death of joy and relationships.

It can even lead to diminished physical and emotional health, or cause a person to make dangerous decisions that may put their very life at risk. Job 21:25 says a “man dies in the bitterness of his soul.” That is Satan’s plan, to “steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10).

Forgiveness Brings Freedom

In contrast, Jesus also said in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Jesus forgave us and He tells His followers to do the same to others. In fact, Jesus said in Luke 6:37, “Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

When we release our bitterness, the chains of bondage are broken and we are free to experience life once again.

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.
— Mark Twain

As Paul wrote in Colossians 2:13, “And you, being dead in your trespasses…He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.”

The path of forgiveness brings healing and life, but the path of bitterness will just leave us with a bitter taste in our mouth. The choice is ours. I pray we choose forgiveness!

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