By Your Choice Are You Choosing Bitterness?
Have you chosen to be bitter against God or another person? By your choice you will have trouble, not only for yourself, but your bitterness will spread affecting in some way all those who know you (Heb. 12:15). The way you choose to respond to conflict will make you better or bitter.
There is good news. God has provided a way to soothe in times of hurting. Refusing His way creates an inner environment where bitterness will continue to grow. Everyone at some point in their life experiences conflict. You will either choose to forgive or to dwell upon the wrongdoing until you become bitter. To be bitter is a choice to be faced by everyone. Bitterness defiles all those it touches, starting with the one who is bitter, but extending to other relationships (Heb. 12:15). Furthermore, the one embittered becomes enslaved to the person toward whom that bitterness is directed.
Ruth is a prime example of a person who refused to be bitter. (Read the book of Ruth in the Bible). She lost her husband, homeland, her language to move to another country in which she was an alien and enemy. But her faith enabled her to move forward against overwhelming adversity and thus experience the amazing providence of God. Ruth paid a great price. She did suffer hurt and hardship, but she was ultimately rewarded for her faithfulness by being part of the lineage of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Naomi, Ruth's mother-in-law, also lost her husband and two sons. She went through a cycle of bitterness (Ruth 1:20 & 21), but through her faith Naomi was cleansed from bitterness and restored to a right relationship with God. She looked beyond her circumstances and said "no" to bitterness and "yes" to God's sovereign grace and plan for her life (Ruth 4: 13-17).
Bitterness can have far-reaching, long-lasting, and self-destructive effects. A bitter person must first choose to turn to Christ (Rom. 5: 8-10). If you are a bitter person, you need to choose to surrender your life to Jesus, the lover of your soul (Jn. 3:16). Jesus Christ is the antidote to bitterness. He will make it possible for you to accept His forgiveness for your own sins. Once you have accepted Jesus Christ's forgiveness, He will make it possible for you to choose to forgive others because He commanded it (Matt. 6:12). One very practical way to do that is to replace bitterness with love (1 Cor. 13: 4-7; Gal. 5:22), especially by showing love to the one who has wronged you.
From the Women's Study Bible
Thomas Nelson (NKJV)