"Don't Get Bitter, Get Better"
Hebrews 12:15 "...lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled."
The writer of Hebrews is warning us about the dangers of bitterness. Notice he didn't say bitterness
would defile your enemy, or your ex-spouse, or the person you feel did you wrong, he states bitterness
will trouble and defile YOU. Bitterness has ruined lives, homes, marriages, families, relationships,
friendships, and churches. No wonder Paul said in Eph. 4:31 "Let all bitterness be put away from you."
Bitterness is both deadly and destructive. In life we'll all encounter and deal with hurt, anger, and
disappointment. Hurt, anger, and disappointment are all emotions that come and go but bitterness is an
attitude that comes and grows. Emotions change day to day, but attitudes remain day to day. I know both
I and you all have justifiable reasons to be bitter but let me ask what it will produce? Remember what the
starting verse stated and how bitterness will defile YOU. I want to deal with 3 people in the Bible, King
David, Shimei, and King Solomon, and show you 5 attitudes on the road to bitterness and in the process
encourage you to not get bitter but instead get better.
2 Samuel 16:5-13 Notice David's Bigger Attitude
You read this passage of scripture here and you find a man who was in relation to former King Saul,
whom David had bad relations with, and he approaches David cursing at him, throwing stones at him,
and throwing dirt at him. As this was happening, King David was surrendered by his 37 mighty men so I
have to imagine all eyes were upon him waiting to see how he would handle this situation. It would have
been very easy for David to have got upset, bitter, or even had him killed for what he did. You'll notice
however David's bigger attitude in that he stated God knew this was going to happen, God allowed this
to happen, and God can handle what has happened. God help you and I to learn that when we get done
wrong and bad things happen to us at the hands of someone else that it doesn't always have to be an "eye
for an eye", a "tooth for a tooth", or slander for slander, namecalling for namecalling, gossip for gossip,
etc... God help us to let God handle our problems from time to time. David had a bigger attitude here and
it helped him get better instead of bitter.
2 Samuel 19:16-23 Notice David's Blessed Attitude
Notice as you read this passage of scripture involving the same people, Shimei doesn't approach David
this time cursing, throwing stones, or throwing dirt. Instead, he comes in true repentence and expressing
sorrow for his actions and begs David to forgive him for what he did. I wonder what brought this change
in Shimei's life? Maybe how David handled the original occurence and his choice to display a bigger
attitude made an impact on Shimei which played a role in his repentence. Again, David could've
displayed a bitter attitude and made Shimei do a bunch of things to make it up to him but instead he
simply said all is forgiven. God help you and I when someone who has done us wrong and then comes to
us in repentence and asks for our forgiveness to do just that---forgive them. Let it never come from our
lips "I don't forgive you" or "I'll forgive but I won't forget". David didn't do that and in turn displayed a
blessed attitude of being willing to accept a true apology which helped him avoid getting bitter and
helped him to get better.
1 Kings 2:8-10 Notice David's Bitter Attitude
Notice as you read this passage of scripture involving David, Shimei, and now Solomon, David is old and
on his death bed about to die. His dying words before he left this world to Solomon were not spiritual,
enlightening, educational, or full of meaning, but instead were filled with bitterness as he instructed his
son to kill Shimei. In the end, David didn't die better, he died bitter. It sounds like somewhere along the
way that root of bitterness we read about in Hebrews 12 sprung up within him. What happened to his
bigger attitude? What happened to his blessed attitude? I would hate to lie on my deathbed like David
with all that bitterness and hate in my heart. Unforgiveness leads to bitterness. If anyone knew about
forgivess it was David because he had certainly been forgiven much and often by God as evidenced by
what he stated in Psalm 86:5 "Lord, you're good and ready to forgive...". All of us love the forgiveness we
receive from God but hate to practice forgiveness toward our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Instead
of dying better, David died bitter.
2 Kings 2:36-38 Notice Solomon's Better Attitude
Notice as you read this passage of scripture involving Shimei and Solomon, that Solomon doesn't carry
out the wishes of his father David that he uttered from his deathbed. David said to kill Shimei but it's like
Solomon expressed a desire to not be bitter like his father, but instead better. Solomon probably still had
the recent memory of his father's hatred, anger, and bitterness in his mind but resolved in his heart that
he wasn't going to let those destructive attitudes rule his life. David might have felt hatred toward Shimei
but Solomon realized he didn't have to. David might have had bitterness toward Shimei but Solomon
realized he didn't have to. His father died bitter but Solomon decided to live better. David died showing
hatred, anger, and bitterness toward Shimei, but Solomon wanted to live and show grace, mercy, and
forgiveness to Shimei.
2 Kings 2:39-44 Notice Solomon's Begotten Attitude
Notice as you read this passage of scripture involving Shimei and Solomon, Shimei has just returned
home, where Solomon told him to always remain or else, from rescuing his runaway servants. It's not like
he'd been out living it up, partying, carrying out evil plans, etc... instead he went after runaway servants
and brought them back to his home. This infuriated Solomon and Solomon even went so far in his tirade
against Shimei to throw up in his face what had happened years ago between Shimei and his father
David. Solomon then ordered Shimei to be killed. What happened to that better attitude of Solomon?
What happened to the attitude of grace, mercy, and forgiveness? It seems that all of that bitterness,
hatred, and anger from his father that he was trying to avoid in his life wound up showing up and
showing out in his own life. You can see traits of David in Solomon here. Instead of having the better
attitude he had previously displayed, you now see his begotten attitude from his father David. He didn't
have to have this attitude however, he could've been better, but instead chose to be bitter. Many fall into
this trap of behavior and then state "I'm this way because my parents were this way", or "I drink because
my parents drank", or "I do drugs because my parents did drugs". Hey! Be your own person! You don't
have to be stupid, lazy, drunk, or divorced because someone else was. You don't have to follow in the
footsteps of failure, but instead you can walk in the footsteps of success with the Savior! You can rise
above the slums and mediocrity of life and walk in the newness of Christ! Don't get bitter, get better!
In closing, let me say that we can get better and not bitter by doing what Ephesians 4:32 says, "Be ye
kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven
When Adam and Eve sinned against God, God could have given up on them and got bitter because they
disobeyed Him. But instead He decided to get better and show love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness to
them. When Jesus was crucified on the cross and looked over the crowd that had beat him, denied him,
rejected him, and hated him, He could have got bitter and stopped everything. Instead, He got better and
said "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." When I needed a Savior to forgive me,
cleanse me, and pardon me, God could've been bitter at me for the things I'd done and denied me his
perfect Son's blood, grace, and salvation. Instead, He decided to be better than that and saved me in spite
of who I was and what I had done.
God help us all to get better, not bitter!
Evangelist Lee Dean (304) 972-1119 firstname.lastname@example.org
*Please note there is a CD Copy of this message Lee has preached entitled "Don't Get Bitter, Get Better".
If you'd like a copy call 304-736-0186 and we'd be happy to mail you one free of charge.