Bitterness often begins as a normal—maybe even healthy—response to the losses, disappointments, failures, and unfairnesses of life. In that sense, the term “bitterness” is pretty much synonymous with mental, spiritual, emotional (and often also physical) pain.
But the Bible reveals that when indulged and nurtured, bitterness becomes an infection of the inner man that taints—and has the potential to corrupt—all our activities and relationships. I’ve written about the forms and harms of bitterness previously (see Bitterness Happens, and Six Ways Bitterness Can Poison Our Lives).
The good news is that both Scripture and experience (as application of biblical principles) point us toward some practical strategies for overcoming bitterness in our lives before, or even after, it becomes a chronic problem.
Feed the Attitudes of Worship
Worship is not an “experience.” In Scripture, worship is a set of attitudes and beliefs finding some form of expression. Acceptable worship is the right attitudes and beliefs finding a right expression, in the context of a right relationship. That’s a lot of things to get right. But it all begins with the attitudes.
Much has been written about the attitudes of worship, but for now we can simplify: at their core, these attitudes are humble, submissive, repentant, thankful, and joyful.