Bitterness wears the disguises of other emotions

By Dave Henning / March 20, 2021

“Bitterness wears the disguises of other chaotic emotions that are harder to attribute to the original source of hurt.”- Lysa TerKeurst

“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 3:31-32 (NIV)

As Lysa TerKeurst moves on in Chapter 12 of Forgiving What You Can’t Forget, she underscores other most important note about bitterness.  Usually, it won’t allow you to call it bitterness.  Instead, we often use the broad category or resentment – in those rare cases we acknowledge and confess the hints of bitterness.  Hints that undeniably reveal themselves.

Therefore, Lysa lists over twenty ways bitterness tends to play out in everyday life.  Because when you identify its disguises, that enables you to stay healthy, aware, and honest.  These six examples resonate with me:

  • derogatory assumptions
  • sharp, cutting comments
  • negativity cloaked as you having a more realistic view than others
  • snapping and exploding on other people whose offenses don’t warrant that kind of reaction
  • irrational assumptions of worst-case scenarios
  • covertly recruiting others to your side under the guise of processing or venting

As a result, Lysa presents a different side of bitterness.  In addition, she clarifies some misconceptions around it.  Lysa talks about the first one today.

1.  Bitterness doesn’t have a core of hate but a rather a core of hurt.  Realizing this helps us feel less defensive.  Bitter feelings usually connect to deep complexities of being hurt in deep or unfair ways.  Because these ways changed to much about life we find it almost inconceivable that it’s appropriate to forgive.

Hence, it’s easy to justify thoughts of vengeance.  At least our offenders will ‘pay’ as we internally harbor great bitterness against them.

Today’s question: In your life, how do you identify the disguises bitterness wears?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Hardened hearts versus soft hearts”

About the author

Dave Henning

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