The Disease of Bitterness

This past Sunday morning, we looked at the curious story of a leper in 2 Kings 5. In the Bible, the term “leprosy” was used to describe several skin diseases, including leprosy.

As we considered this story, we noted that spiritually, there are also different diseases of leprosy. One of those is bitterness. Think about it!

What does leprosy do? Leprosy is a skin disease that works in reverse of our natural processes. Leprosy causes our pain receptors not to work.

If you have leprosy you can smash your thumb with a hammer and not feel a thing. You can slice your finger off – and never know it.

Leprosy inhibits pain, but it also eats away at the body and so noses, fingers, toes, etc. fall off. It is a killer disease.

Bitterness is a leprosy of the heart. Bitterness prevents us from feeling the pain of others. What happens when people are filled and fueled with bitterness?

All such a person can think about is how others have done them wrong. Their minds and hearts become completely inward-focused.

They become so wrapped up in their own problems that they cannot properly feel the pain of others.

Instead, when others shout out their own pain, often those eaten up by bitterness become more enraged, more indignant.

The question we must carefully ask ourselves is this: are we holding bitterness and anger deep in our hearts for wrongs that have been done to us in the past?

Have you forgiven those who have hurt you, or do you hold a grudge even today? Have you truly forgiven them?

Hebrews 12:15 warns us, “lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.”

May God help us to seek the forgiving, healing grace of Jesus that removes all bitterness from our hearts and replaces it with love and forgiveness!