A while back, a man came up to me and said, “I’m leaving the church. The guitar player on the worship team played a solo that was too long.”
An example of a “bitter-bit.”
“I hate my husband. Do you know what he just did?” I replied, “No, and I don’t want to know.”
I did not want to hear another “bitter-bit.” I hear them often, and to be honest, deal with them in my own thoughts and conversation.
“Bitter-bit” is my term for slight offences that build to an overly large reaction. Bit upon bit, until a final bit ignites an inflammation of words and actions. Have you ever lost control, couldn’t take it any longer, or overreacted to an innocent comment?
Afterwards you felt terrible.
Make sure no one lives with a root of bitterness sprouting within them which will only cause trouble and poison the hearts of many. Hebrews 12:15 (TPT)
Temptation comes in bits, not large doses. A fall is proceeded by many compromises. Outbursts are days, weeks, and years of tinder build-up just waiting for a spark. The spark can come from your spouse, boss, pastor, or an innocent bystander at Walmart.
The compromise? Not dealing with your bitter-bits scripturally.
Paul teaches the solution to bitter-bits:
In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27
Reading a Facebook anger-post, have you thought, “Where did that come from?” Or, after a shouting match with your teenage son, “Why did I do that?”
Answer: Letting the sun set on bitter-bits.
Single bitter-bit events are easy to squash. Confess, apologize, recognize your fault, forgive, and move on! Paul’s exhortation to daily deal with anger solves the problem. If you allow the bits to pile up, a spark causes a fight, someone vows to never speak to you again, and the worst – they have their own pile of bitter-bits that you’ve just ignited.
World War III or perhaps Armageddon!
Condoning bitter-bits, denying they exist, and blaming others, creates bitter-bit dementia. My mother, who worked decades with the aged, once told me that she encountered two types of people at her nursing home – sweet as lambs or mean as snakes.
Conversations, thoughts, and attitudes can constantly create bitter-bits. They are self-induced, habit-forming, and without containment, ruin health and destroy relationships.
The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark… It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. James 3:5-6 (TPT)
The signature mark of a mature Christian is not the ability to perform miracles but to receive mercy from God and then extend it to others in their conversations.
New Year’s Resolution #1 for 2021: I will recognize and confess my bitter-bits before they ignite a forest!