Written by Alfred Ofori Agyemang.

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” (NIV) James 1:19

All humans have limitations and that includes the ability to control emotions. No matter how calm or friendly you are, you have a breaking point after which your reaction will not be pleasant. Each person is irritated by different stimulus and we respond differently.

Mismanagement of anger can lead to bitterness in our hearts. This bitterness is often characterized by strong feelings of hatred, resentment, cynicism, sorrow, discomfort, or pain. Anything that makes you uncomfortable can actually cause you bitterness.

Some causes of bitterness are intense suffering like the Israelites in Egypt (Ex. 1:14) and the health challenges of Job (Job 7:11). Bitterness may come from being continuously despised for what you don’t have like Hannah (1 Sam. 1:4-10), being defrauded or cheated of something valuable like Esau (Gen. 27:34) and being insulted.

Bitterness can result in intense misery leading to forsaking God, a life of sin and impurity; the misery of servitude; wretchedness; misfortunes and disappointment. What is so irritating to you and constantly lead you to feel bitter? Do you think there is no way around it? God actually has a way for us to deal with bitterness.

We can overcome bitterness by acknowledging that it can affect anybody, and we have the power through God to put it away. Instead of keeping all the wrongs and bad feelings, let us learn to forgive and replace the bitterness with positive emotions.

Following wisdom from above (James 3:13-18) is a sure way out because the world standard will expect you to prove yourself by reacting negatively. Associate yourself with spiritual and positive-minded people to support you to overcome bitterness (Rom. 12:15). Stop concentrating on all the things you lack in life and rather think of all your potentials God has blessed you with. Let us learn from Hannah by praying bitterly (1 Sam. 1:10) instead of crying bitterly. Get better and not bitter by keeping your God-given hopes alive.

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