There are many people who have had raw deals in their life and if you are not one of them, I’m sure that you know someone who has. Sometimes we make big deals out of what is really a rather small slight. But sometimes, there are very big wounds and they’re very unfair, and many people have been victims of raw deals.

People have said in their marriage vows, ‘Until death do us part’ but their partner didn’t mean it when they said it. Someone devoted their entire working life to one employer, only to read in the paper, that they’ve lost their job. Some grow up in a home where a parent has an addiction or they were abused, that’s a raw deal.

Some have given away their life savings to help a family member who promised to pay them back, and they haven’t. Perhaps a GP has misdiagnosed a problem, and they have to suffer for the rest of their life. And the list could go on and on of bad deals.

The Point

Here’s the point, Satan wants the wound to incapacitate us, for as long as possible. What he wants to do is help us cultivate a long-standing resentment against our offender. And the irony is that the bitterness we develop usually winds up hurting more than the original offence.

How have you been handling your raw deals? Perhaps today you’re hurting over things that are unfair, and underneath much of our misery is a root of bitterness.

“Seek peace with all people, and the holiness without which no one can ever see the Lord. Be careful that no one is deprived of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness should begin to grow and make trouble; this can poison a large number”. Hebrews 12:14-15

It’s interesting that the Holy Spirit chose the metaphor of a root to speak about bitterness because we don’t see roots. We see the stalk, we see the branch, we see the trunk, we even see the fruit, but we don’t see the roots. That’s exactly how bitterness operates, bitter people rarely realise that they are and even rarer, they won’t not admit they are.

Bitterness is an underground sin, it festers, it grows, it’s poisonous but no one really sees it. In fact, if you say to somebody their problem is bitterness, they’ll probably get angry and deny it with all their being. But the indisputable fact of the matter is this, there are an awful lot of sour saints.

Hebrews wasn’t written to unbelievers; it was written to Christians. The Holy Spirit says to the church, be careful when you’re wounded, be careful that you don’t allow a root of bitterness to grow under the surface and spread its poison.

The one who allows resentment to linger, not only hurts themselves, but they usually end up hurting other people too. That’s the irony about bitterness, we have allowed bitterness to spoil, Hebrews 12:15. We’re hurting ourselves and we’re hurting the people around us, we love the most, as that poison spreads.


The woman who goes through a painful divorce, it’s awful. Evil should never have been allowed to visit her, but she allows her spirit to become so angry, that the poison ends up affecting her kids. Or a guy who loses his job, he gets so resentful, that you can hardly stand being around him.

There’s a lot being said in the media just now, about how much our future health depends on what we eat. That’s probably true but our future health also depends on what eats us.

We may not be responsible for the initial hurt, but we must take responsibility if we have allowed bitterness to take root because of that hurt.

We need to cut that root of bitterness down, root it out, Ephesians 4:31. Get underneath the surface and root it out, and here’s how to do that.

Don’t Curse Your Offender

Cursing our offender is the worldly thing to do, when we get struck, we want to retaliate, when we get wounded, we want to wound back. And it’s so easy to rationalise, it’s so easy to justify our offence and to want to hurt back. Most people in life think we survive by hurting back, if they slap me, and I’ll slap you back harder.

Why do we think we can heal a wound, by causing another one? Why do we think by hurting someone else that is going to help our hurt?

Don’t curse your offender, if someone hurts you, bless them, Romans 12:14. The first thing we want to do is shout at them to God. We want to curse them to God; we might even want God to damn them. We certainly aren’t going to pray for them.

And then we’re going to mouth off about them to anyone who will listen. We’ll make sure that we tell everyone how bad they are and how badly we’ve been treated. And if we get a chance, boy, we’ll tell them right to their face how miserable they are, that’s cursing someone.

Any time we curse, we have just admitted that we did not ask W. W. J. D. What Would Jesus Do? Do we have any record of Jesus cursing when He was wounded? No, 1 Peter 2:23.

We want to let our enemy, have it? The Bible says no! Do what Jesus did, let God have it. Just hand over the whole situation to God and trust Him with it, if we need to talk out our pain, talk it out with God, don’t curse your offender.

Don’t Nurse Your Pain

Bitter people look for reasons to justify how they feel. If we want to justify our bitterness, we’ll find out it’s pretty easy to do, we’ll come up with some good arguments. Bitter people will articulate their injustice over and over to anybody who will listen, but all we’re doing is nursing that pain. We could rationalise our resentment.

How does holding onto it change the past or repair broken relationships? Some people cling to their pain, they seem to enjoy it, it has become their new identity.

I’m the woman who got abandoned, I’m the kid who grew up with an alcoholic dad, I’m the guy who fought in Iraq and got messed up by the Government. And that’s going to be their identity for the rest of their lives.

Don’t Allow Anger To Become Sin

The Bible says no, there’s a better way, we deal with our resentment immediately and radically, Ephesians 4:26-27. When we nurse our anger, we’re letting ourselves become vulnerable to satanic intrusion. We’re saying to the devil, ‘I’m going to take off my armour on this whole side of our body, go ahead, shoot all the darts you want right here.’

What we don’t release, we will begin to resemble. Don’t nurse that pain, instead rehearse how God has forgiven us because we will never eagerly dispense grace until you understand how much you need it.

Remember The Grace Of God

Remember in Matthew 18:21-35? There was a guy who owed somebody an absolute fortune, he was up to his eyes in debt to another man. It was so horrendous; he knew he could never pay it off.

The man who was owed the money told the guy he would wipe the slate clean. He didn’t have to pay a single penny of his debt, then this guy found someone else who owed him a few pence, a pittance in fact.

But what did he do? Matthew 18:30 tells us that he had his debtor thrown in jail. When the first man found out what had happened, that someone whom he had released from a huge debt wouldn’t release someone from a small debt, he had him thrown in jail eternally. The point of the parable is this, we have all run up debts in different ways.

But every single one of us are debtors and none of us can pay our debt before God. But we have a God who freed us from our debt, even though we had wounded Him greatly.

How can we receive unlimited grace from a God like that and then decide that we have the right to dispense grace in measured amounts as it pleases us?

The parable doesn’t say the man was angry because the guy had a huge debt, he was angry because the guy wouldn’t forgive his neighbour.

You say can, ‘But I have been wronged! And justice demands that someone pays for that wrong.’ There’s a hill outside of Jerusalem called Calvary and that’s where Someone did pay for it.

Why do we want our enemy to pay for something that Jesus has already paid for? If the blood of Jesus has satisfied God for their sin, why are we still not satisfied? The cross has invalidated all justification for holding a grudge, Ephesians 2:16.

That doesn’t mean we still can’t hate; it means we don’t have a right to. We have no right because of the righteousness of the cross of Jesus to be holding onto a grudge with anybody. We have got sufficient motivation to let go of bitterness.

That’s not the problem, the problem is, we don’t have sufficient desire. That’s the problem with bitterness, we aren’t willing to let go of it, we want to hang on to it, and we want to hold people in our debt, Matthew 18:30.

The Cross

The struggle to forgive is the struggle of the will and to soften our will, we have to do some serious business at the cross. Forgiveness is hard but so was Calvary and that’s our model. The cross doesn’t make forgiveness easy, but it does make it possible, Ephesians 4:32 / Colossians 3:13.

How do we root out that bitter spirit? Don’t curse, that won’t help it, don’t nurse it, that won’t help it. We rehearse what God did for us and we dispense the hurt by going and doing likewise. We do what God did, we focus on our enemy’s needs instead of our hurts. We act, instead of react, we initiate instead of retaliate.

Jesus said time and time again that Christianity is active, not passive, Luke 6:27-36. Christians are warriors, they’re not just survivors, we’re not trying to survive evil, we’re trying to conquer evil. We conquer evil by throwing good back at it, God is stronger than evil.

When we root out bitterness and do good to our enemy, it may not change our enemy, but it will change us. God’s in the changing people business, God will be relentless if we hold onto bitterness. Nails didn’t silence Jesus, He prayed for His enemies, Luke 23:33-34. What are we going to let silence yours?

Have you ever seen an iceberg? Those things are huge but all you see is just a glimpse of what lies beneath the sea. We can’t see what’s rooted deep inside each other, but I do know from experience if bitterness is rooted deep within our soul, we need to root it out.

Because it’s just going to gnaw away at our faith and our relationship with God and His people. Don’t let Satan get a hold of us with bitterness, let it go by talking to God about it.

Our God is big enough to take it and listen, He understands when people hurt us and let us down, He’s been there in more ways than we will ever experience in this life.

But He will not change His mind when it comes to forgiving others, Colossians 3:13. Don’t dwell on things and people who really hurt us years ago, it’s time to let go.


Will you let go today of any bitterness you may have? Will you allow Jesus to take it away today? I hope and pray that you do because like I said speaking from experience the joy will come into your life when you throw out the bitterness from your life.

To remove bitterness, we need to practice what Jesus preached. Love your enemies, do good to them, feed them when they are hungry, give them clothes when they are cold, and visit them when they are sick, Luke 23:33-34.