Bitterness is a sneaky poison. We often don’t realize it’s there. Or we justify it and feel it is our “right” to hold on to anger and resentment. It doesn’t take long for it to ferment into malice, rage, hatred, abuse, and even violence.

Bitterness can and will destroy our lives if we embrace it. If you have ever seen someone who has held onto bitterness for decades, it is scary. It becomes their most precious desire. And it makes it impossible for them to have real intimacy emotionally or spiritually with anyone.

I don’t want any of us do be ruined by bitterness. 

9 causes of bitterness for women.

Perhaps you would like to add others to the list?

1. We don’t know Jesus.

We all need Jesus to be our Savior and Lord. We all need salvation and healing in Christ.

2. We have unbiblical or unrealistic expectations of ourselves or others.

When we have unrealistic expectations or our expectations of others go against scripture, this is a recipe for resentment and a spirit of offense.

3. We have been hurt by other people’s sin and we won’t forgive.

There is such a thing as righteous anger. We should be upset when people sin against us or others. Righteous anger should move us to try to right wrongs and help alleviate people’s unjust suffering. But if we hold onto anger, even good anger, for very long, it quickly becomes sinful anger that hurts us.

God calls us to forgive others, even when they don’t apologize and don’t deserve it. He does this so that we can be spiritually healed and free. This doesn’t mean we trust people who have broken our trust and who have not repented and changed. Forgiveness and trust are two different things.

We can forgive in God’s power and we can do that without the offender’s cooperation. But we need the other person to repent and help rebuild trust if they have seriously violated our trust. And we may need counseling and extra help to heal if we have been abused.

4. We have some hormonal or medical issues going on.

If we have PMS, PMDD, low thyroid, low blood sugar, chronic fatigue, poor nutrition, sleep deprivation, illness, etc… it can be extra challenging to have grace and forgiveness for others. We may need to do what we can to address the medical issues and find that we can let go of bitterness much easier after that.

When we take good care of our bodies and are good stewards of this gift, things usually work much better.

5. We are trying to control things or people they can’t actually control.

When we try to control other people or go beyond the limits of decisions that are actually in our realm of control, it is exhausting. And when we think we are responsible for other people’s thoughts, words, or actions, and they don’t do what we want them to do, we may resent them.

But in this case, we are the ones with the issue and we need to learn to give up trying to control other people. 

6. We are not taking our thoughts captive for Christ

When we allow ourselves to sink into a negative thought spiral, bitterness almost always results. Along with fear, anxiety, worry, negativity, and depression.

When we submit our thoughts to Jesus and invite Him to have control, we can walk in His victory over these snares.

7. We desire something or someone more than Christ in our hearts.

We may have idols in our lives like self, marriage, happiness, romance, dating, money, beauty, popularity, fame, children, etc…

An idol is something or someone we put our faith in to meet our deepest spiritual needs for fulfillment, contentment, purpose, security, identity, and love other than God.

If we decide to try to follow Christ and obey Him so that we can get our idols, we end up feeling resentful. No idol can ever satisfy. Only Jesus can deeply satisfy the greatest longings of our souls. If we realize our motives are to get something other than Jesus, we can repent and invite God to purify your motives and decide to do this journey for Jesus alone not to try to control or change anyone else.

8. We act in our own strength and not in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Are we starving ourselves spiritually and not spending time with God in prayer and in His Word inviting Him to teach and transform us? It is impossible to live in the power of the Holy Spirit if we aren’t investing in our relationship with the Lord and we don’t spend time with God and feast on His Word.

9. We cherish sin in our hearts.

When we hold onto sin and refuse to repent, it keeps us from having the power of the Holy Spirit.  Or if we open doors to the enemy in some way, we can also open a door to bitterness.



Please help us to recognize any source of bitterness in our lives. Illuminate the wrong thinking and sin in our hearts and minds. Help us to tear every shred of it out and replace it all with You, Your goodness, Your truth, and Your healing power.




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