Do not be bitter or angry or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. Ephesians 4:31 (CEV)

A few years back now a building was constructed on a vacant lot near where I worked. Shortly after its completion, people in the building complained about headaches, bad smells and frequent illnesses. Further investigation showed that somehow in the construction process black mold had begun to grow.

Efforts to solve the problem were fruitless and within just a couple years of its completion the health department was forced to condemn the building. It was demolished and turned into a parking lot!

Bitterness is like the black mold in that building. It can go unnoticed for a period of time. It grows in places we don’t think to look. It can start growing at the slightest infraction.

Bitterness can happen when a friend says one small thing that we take the wrong way. It can happen when some guy we don’t even know cuts us off on the interstate or a co-worker is using the copier and we are in a hurry to get something copied. It happens in churches when the pastor makes a comment or preaches a sermon that steps on a few toes.

It doesn’t matter where bitterness starts, if bitterness goes unchecked it can be a relationship breaker. Bitterness launches a two-pronged attack on our relationships. First of all, like black mold it eats away at us on the inside. It robs us of our joy, our self-esteem and our ability to be intimate with people. We sink further inward and become angry. Our lives are motivated by a judgmental and critical spirit. Bitterness not only destroys families and friendships, it can destroy your health.

If caught in time, there are ways to stop or at least lessen the results of black mold in a building before it becomes uninhabitable. If caught in time the effects of bitterness can be removed and relationships prevented or restored.

The first step to making sure bitterness isn’t a part of your life is to identify the real reason for your bitterness. Many times the things that cause bitterness in our soul can be traced to things that attack our view of ourselves. Take whatever it is to Jesus.

Remember you are God’s special creation. Nothing that comes into your life happens for without a reason. God allows things that can cause bitterness to come into our lives to help us grow stronger, not to destroy us.

Lastly, ask forgiveness for your angry and bitter spirit. Begin today to rid your life of those dark corners of anger and bitterness that can destroy relationships around you.

PRAYER: Father God, lately I find myself getting angry over the smallest things. I blame others, say things I don’t mean to say and push people I love away. Please help me see what it really is that is making me so bitter. Forgive me for my anger. Empower me with your spirit to avoid bitterness and repair damaged or broken relationships. In your name I pray, Amen.

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