The Gall of Bitterness
Reading: Acts 8:14-24
I. Hebrews 12:14-15
A. Bitterness is “characterized by animosity; harshly reproachful, caustic, disagreeable; to have a ‘sour’ disposition towards others other things that happened, whether real or imagined.”
B. Few people want to be bitter, but many slide into it over the years.
II. Causes of bitterness
A. Pride and arrogance
1. Deut. 29:17-20 - The idea that “I have rebelled” and God hasn’t struck me with lightening.
2. There is no incentive to change. They remain in their sin and sin, over time, eats at their soul like acid.
3. Jer 4:16-18 - Rebellion has allowed sin to leave a bitter touch on the heart.
B. Jealousy and selfishness - James 3:14-16
C. Sin filled life
1. Sin is a bitter poison - Deut 32:31-33
2. All are susceptible to it’s touch - Romans 3:9-18
3. In the bonds of sin, Simeon was filled with the gall of bitterness - Acts 8:23
III. The impact of bitterness
A. I once planted spearmint in a flower bed at my first home. I knew the plant had a tendency to spread uncontrollably, so I ringing them with a separator. What I didn’t realize was how deeply the roots would go. Before I knew it, I had spearmint everywhere. I tried pulling it up, following the long chain of roots back to its source, but it would break off. If I missed the tiniest piece, I soon found myself back pulling up plants.
B. The roots of bitterness are the same. They spread deep and far – popping up far from the initial cause and in great abundance.
C. Bitterness disrupts the harmony between brethren.
D. Listen to the warning of Paul - I Cor 3:9-10, 16-17
1. Are we building up or are we tearing down?
2. Do bitterness and jealous drive us to bring down the work of God?
E. Surely this is why sowing discord is listed as one of the seven abominable sins - Prov. 6:19.
IV. The solution to bitterness
A. Ephesians 4:31-32 - Put away bitterness by replacing it with kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness.
B. Hebrews 12:14-15 - We need to pursue peace and holiness. These qualities are the opposites of those that produce bitterness in a person.
C. We must understand that we will answer for everything that we have done – good and bad. There is no getting away with sin before God. - II Cor. 5:9-10; Romans 14:10-12
V. Now is the time for cleansing, to uproot all the bitterness from your heart.