John Piper on Fighting Bitterness

Suffering is inevitable. Bitterness is a choice.

Recently, I listened to John Piper speak about bitterness on one of the “Ask Pastor John” audio clips that Desiring God holds almost daily. Piper mentions four ways we can fight bitterness. You can listen to the full audio here, and I have also listed Piper’s four points below with some of his thoughts to follow.

We fight bitterness by:

1) Letting it sink in that you don’t deserve better than you got from God.

Verse used: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

It doesn’t mean the way you were treated was right or they were not guilty.

It doesn’t mean that God approves what has been done to you.

It simply means that anything that happens to us is not a wrong from God.

How freeing this becomes when realized!

2) Realizing and pondering how much we have been given from God. 

Verse used: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with malice” (Ephesians 4:31).

Remember to walk in love and forgive as Christ did for us.

If I have overwhelming love and forgiveness — how can I not extend it to others?

If we hold a grudge, we are essentially saying this: Christ acted inadequately or foolishly when he did not hold a grudge against me.

3) Believing that even amidst all the pain and suffering, God is working all things out for our good.

Verse used: “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17).

Sins and injustices and slanders done against us are not just something we should forgive, but something that is actually producing a weight of glory in us that would not be produced if they did not happen.

4) Taking hope in the fact that nobody gets away with anything. 

Verse used: “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).

Nobody who has done you wrong will get away with it.

God says, “You need to relax and let me be the one who take vengeance.”

You’re right. Justice hasn’t been done . . . yet. God will repay.

All wrongdoing gets punished at the cross or in hell.

If bitterness or unforgiveness is something you are facing, I recommend to take heed to Piper’s biblical advice. Don’t drink the poison.

Post your comments below.

14 thoughts on “John Piper on Fighting Bitterness

  1. I had a great injustice done to me recently and i fought against letting feeling of anger seep all through to my heart and turn to bitterness and hatred. I got deliverance at my church, at the altar in response to an altar call. I’m pretty sure folks thought I was crazy, I just knew if it grabbed ahold of my inner spirit I would be in pile of trouble. It had to go.

    Lets just say, the kids tiptoe around me and a few mothers question my sister, “is she okay?”. I am now. The cross and altar of Christ is amazing.

  2. I watch Joyce Meyer’s TV program daily, and one of the things she says most often is, I believe that God is working! Even if you don’t see the changes you would like to see, He is a trustworthy God, and Be IS working! Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Bitterness is one of the greatest foes we may face in our lives. If we allow it, it will eat away at our own hearts and the fabric and stiches of the communities we are connected to. It is indeed a poison. Thank you for posting this.

  4. On several different occasions I’ve noticed a pattern. First, someone did or said something hurtful to me or to someone close to me. Later, the person suffers some harm. I wonder “did I wish that on them? Did God wish that on them because of what they did?” Of course a wiser thought is that most likely the harm they are experiencing is between them and God. Maybe it’s a trial that will soften and strengthen them; maybe it’s part of some other story in their life; maybe something unrelated to their interaction with me.

    So – thank you for this post – a good reminder to graciously let go of the hurt as soon as we can.

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