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How Do I Put Away Bitterness?

The one prevalent human response to pain is to become resentful and bitter, either toward the person who hurt us, or toward God, or both! Bitterness against someone who has wronged you is an evil cancer that, left unchecked, can destroy you. The Bible tells us to put away bitterness (Ephesians 4:31), “looking carefully…lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled” (Hebrews 12:15).

The Antidote

The antidote to bitterness is forgiveness. As Jesus hung on the cross, He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). Stephen followed his Lord’s example and cried out, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin,” as a mob continued stoning him to death (Acts 7:60).

When you fail to forgive others, you sentence yourself to a life of bitterness. Helen Roseveare was a missionary doctor who was brutally assaulted while serving in Africa. Yet, but God’s grace, she forgave those who wronged her and spent 20 more years doing missionary service. Forgiving her abusers freed her to continue her mission of serving others. Another outstanding woman of faith, Elisabeth Elliot, forgave the men who savagely killed her missionary husband. In fact, she continued for two more years in ministry to the very people who killed him.

Don’t let bitterness gain a foothold in your life. Seek God’s help for an unforgiving heart. Search out any bitterness and failure to forgive, turn it over to your heavenly Father, and choose to forgive.


Father God, with His dying breath Your Son asked You to forgive those who crucified Him. Another man, Stephen, asked You to forgive those who were stoning him to death. Your Word tells me to forgive as many times as I have been sinned against—and more. I don’t want bitterness to hinder my relationship with You, my loving and forgiving Lord. I am coming before You today, begging for Your help to be a woman who forgives even when it’s hard and it hurts—a woman who forgives just as I have been forgiven. Thank You for my salvation and Your forgiveness. Amen.


This devotion is from Prayers for a Woman’s Heart, coming in April! Discover prayers to grow in wisdom and understanding, for strength through fear and depression, and for patience and contentment. PRE-ORDER today and we’ll send you free gifts!


“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15)

Have I allowed bitterness to fester in my heart?


When you fail to forgive others, you sentence yourself to a life of bitterness.


Read How Do I Put Away Bitterness? on Elizabeth & Jim George.

Jim and Elizabeth George

Jim and Elizabeth George are bestselling authors and national speakers dedicated to helping people live a life after God’s own heart. Together, they have written over 150 books with more than 14 million copies sold around the world. For over 35 years, the teachings and steadfast example of Elizabeth and Jim have helped countless men and women:

  • Simplify life by focusing on God’s priorities.
  • Appreciate God’s Word and apply it to everyday situations.
  • Respond to circumstances with confidence by seeing yourself through God’s loving eyes.
  • Increase closeness in marriage by serving and honoring each other.
  • Powerfully shape the hearts of children and teenagers.
  • Enjoy greater intimacy with God.

Learn more about Jim and Elizabeth George here.

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