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How to Overcome Bitterness: For Your Own Health and Peace

Do you know how to overcome bitterness? Research suggests constant bitterness can have negative effects on our physical health. Bitterness may predict adverse changes in metabolism, immune system function, and organ function.  

The Bible tells us the same.

But overcoming bitterness can be hard. Maybe you’ve tried everything to get past the hurt.

Efforts at biblical reconciliation may or may not have been fruitful but they definitely aren’t satisfying.

You’re just really angry and can’t let it go. You can’t let it go because what happened wasn’t right. In fact, it’s downright wrong.  In this video, John Piper says that’s true— and deadly.

How to Overcome Bitterness

So he offers three suggestions for how to overcome bitterness.

First, admit that the bitterness has a hold on you. The bitterness is not a figment of your imagination, it’s real and it’s deep. Don’t bury it, acknowledge the problem.

Second, pray about it. Ask God to take the bitterness away.

And finally, what Piper calls his primary point, trust the promises of God. That promise comes from Romans 12:19: “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”

Piper say that is “a tailor made, blood-bought promise.”

The promise is that God will lift from you the suicidal load of vengeance and carry it to the cross or to Hell and “you can’t improve on either of those.”

If the load goes to the cross, it’s been handled by the grace of God.  Refusing to forgive what God has forgiven dishonors God. And his death canceled out every sin ever committed.

If God’s vengeance is handled in Hell, it’s a torment that is eternal.  Piper said that’s why Hell is an important reality.