Ever find yourself suddenly become angry while doing something that isn’t related to what irks you? That just may be bitterness.
I started thinking about the causes of bitterness a couple of weeks ago. I asked God to point out the next time I feel bitter to help me write this post.
I was seized with a tide of anger as I searched through job postings only a few minutes later.
I don’t like searching for work, but that’s not what brought on those unhappy feelings. They can just show up while I’m doing mundane tasks like laundry, cooking, or watching TV.
It’s often brought on by thought connections. Like, maybe I’m about to wash a shirt that reminds me of something that someone wore who upset me. (This is just an example. I’m not always angry while doing the laundry.)
When I experience bitterness, it takes all of my focus, and I’m consumed with angry thoughts.
I want to enjoy my life instead of continuing that way, so I came up with a short list of why I think bitterness surfaces:
- Feeling like no one cares about your situation/has empathy for you
- Believing that you were wronged, or disadvantaged
- Not thinking that life can improve
Bitterness can quickly form when all of these are present.
I’ll share my thoughts on the solution to bitterness in a moment.
The book of Job in the Bible is about a man who believes that he doesn’t deserve his hardships and is misunderstood by his friends.
God is more than able to look out for us. We don’t have to feel like things will never be made right after experiencing a hardship.
Near the end of the story, Job humbles himself before God and also prays for his friends. See what happens after that:
So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. (42:12 King James Version)
At the beginning of the book, Job is described as very wealthy.
His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.(emphasis mine) (1:3 King James Version)
That is an example of how God restored twice as much as Job lost. When I’m feeling wronged and misunderstood, I’ll remember that God is a restorer.