from Virtuous Daughters, November 2009~Volume 9, Number 9
I cannot think of anything more damaging to the inward and outward beauty of a girl, than bitterness. It is a seed, that once planted, begins to choke out the grace and sweetness of a young maiden and is terribly hard to get rid of. The plant grows rapidly, and sends out new shoots that produce more seeds and can easily spread to others. Let me tell you about some ways this seed is planted, how it spreads, and what you must do to get rid of it.
I believe the easiest way for bitterness to be planted in the heart of a girl (or boy), is when she disobeys, dishonors, or belittles her parents. Just one little mean thought, a rebellious attitude or saucy word can lead to much greater problems. Even if our attitude does not create consequences early on, it will later. Exodus 20:12 says, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” We also read in Proverbs 10:6 that, “Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.” There are many places in the Bible that talk about the consequences of sin, and dishonoring your parents is no exception.
Another way bitterness enters into the heart is when we rebel against our pastors. The Lord has not only placed parents over us; He has given us pastors and teachers as well. Just like parents, our pastors are not perfect, but the Lord uses them to instruct us in His ways, therefore we must hearken and obey (1 Samuel 15:22). In 1 Timothy 5:17 we are advised by Paul to, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.” When we dishonor and tear down our pastors, we are grieving our Heavenly Father. It is He who has placed pastors over us, and they are deserving of our utmost respect and honor. They especially need our prayers! And, just as there are blessings that come with obeying our parents, the Lord blesses those who obey the shepherds. In Ezekiel 34:26 God promises Israel that He will, “Cause the shower to come down in His season; there shall be showers of blessing.”
I’m sure most of you young ladies have siblings and friends, and as we interact with them there are bound to be disagreements or hurtful words exchanged at some time or another. When someone wrongs you and you don’t forgive them. The seed of bitterness has just been planted. Colossians 3:13 states, “Forbearing one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so do ye.” That verse makes it very clear that we are to forgive everyone who wrongs us, not just certain people at certain times.
As far as the spreading of bitterness goes, it is very easy, especially within our peer groups, and very damaging. A few simple comments of disgust or belittling words against our parents, pastors, and teachers can cause others to start thinking the same way. That is called sowing discord and in Proverbs we read that it is one of the seven abominations. I have also discovered how quickly our younger siblings can pick up our disrespectful attitudes and soon be saying the same things! As older siblings, we can’t be too careful in setting a godly example for those who are younger. When we display love and respect for our authorities, our siblings are more likely to do the same.
I already said bitterness is hard to get rid of, and I know this from experience. It’s not impossible to remove, for God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. First of all, you must be willing to have the bitterness removed. Then you must ask for the Lord’s forgiveness, and you will feel so much better! It may also be necessary to tell someone sorry if you have been hurting them in any way.
So, is it worth harboring rebellious, bitter thoughts against anyone? I don’t think so. I, personally, have spent too much time thinking that way, and it quenches the joy we have as children of God. Bitterness only does damage to your soul as it says in Proverbs 8:36, “He that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.” We also read in Job 21:25 that, “Another dieth in the bitterness of his soul, and never eateth with pleasure.” I know I don’t want that kind of curse, and I’m sure you all feel the same way. Let’s claim the showers of blessing and put away all bitterness, wrath, anger, and clamour and evil speaking with all malice (Ephesians 4:31).
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