You Know You’re Bitter When…

“There are some telltale signs that would be good for every member of the household to be aware of.

Bitterness always has a sharp memory for all the details. And this is because bitterness has good study habits: review, review, review.

It’s also true that bitterness frequently resorts to anonymous critiques or attacks. Bitter words are frequently unsigned. This is obviously more difficult to accomplish inside a home, but sin can be pretty creative.

Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity: Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not. (Ps. 64:2-4)

Another good indicator is the practice of conducting imaginary conversations in the mind. ‘Then I says to him, says I…” And of course, during these imaginary conversations, the brunt of this brilliant repartee is never capable of coming back with anything intelligible at all.

Bitterness also starts to invert the moral order of things.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.  (Is. 5:20)

A bitter person frequently starts to approve what they would have never approved at an earlier time in their life. When a Christian finds himself justifying what he would never have approved in other circumstances, he is probably bitter.

As we saw earlier in the passage from Hebrews 12, bitterness is like a root. It grows. It gathers nutrients everywhere it can. Soon the person’s heart and mouth are full of it – ‘Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness’ (Rom. 3:14). What happens when the jar of your life is jostled? What comes out? If bitterness splashes on to everyone, this simply tells us what the jar was already full of.”

– Douglas Wilson, My Life for Yours (pp. 44-45)

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “You Know You’re Bitter When…”

  1. Corey, this is pretty good, but I have to say, this line bothers me.
    “A bitter person frequently starts to approve what they would have never approved at an earlier time in their life. When a Christian finds himself justifying what he would never have approved in other circumstances, he is probably bitter.”

    That’s hardly fair. I’ve spent the last two years radically changing the way I view some things, and specifically, yes, I approve of some actions that three years I would have considered unthinkable. Here’s the thing, it’s not because I’m bitter. It’s because I was challenged to look at things differently, and I realized that there were major problems with some of my views.

    The reason I’m bothering to comment, is because some people have repeatedly accused me of being bitter because I’ve changed, and I can assure you, there are few things more painful than having someone you love call you bitter when nothing could be further from the truth.

    That’s my rant for the day. ;)

    1. Amy, I get what you’re saying, but I think it’s fairly clear from the context that Wilson is addressing a specific kind of change: one driven by an inversion of the moral order. Hence the strong words in Isaiah 5. We’re not talking about people who change their views for rational, moral reasons, because they’ve been challenged to look at things differently. We’re talking about flipping good and evil on their heads and calling it A-okay. This sort of change is irrational, immoral, and often (as Wilson points out) the ill-begotton offspring of bitterness.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s