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The Heart of the Matter
"The Problem of a Bitter Heart"


"Heart" - in the bible, the word "heart" is used to describe a person's character or true nature. Our desires, motives, choices and actions originate in our heart.

For that reason, God is concerned with the condition of our heart. He looks beyond our external appearance and sees the motive and attitudes of our heart.

"Bitterness" - sour, opposite of sweet; associated with anger and grudges

Hebrews 12:14-15 (NIV) - Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter roots grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Proverbs 14:10 (NIV) - Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.

Today we turn our attention to an issue that affects ALL of us. Because we live in a fallen world, every one of us will experience hurt and disappointment as a result of the actions or words of someone else. Whether the offences committed against us are major or minor in nature, the point is, there will be times when we need to extend forgiveness to those who have hurt us. Forgiveness is a critical issue of the heart, we must avoid pride and embrace truth.

1. What is pride? 

Dictionary definition - a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements.

2. Why is pride sinful?

Pride is giving ourselves the credit for something that God has accomplished.

Pride is taking the glory that belongs to God alone and keeping it for ourselves.

Pride is essentially self-worship.

Anything we accomplish in this world would not have been possible were it for God. This is why we give God the glory-He alone deserves it.

1 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV) - For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

The angel Lucifer, meaning "day star" or "shining one" who became the devil, somehow in this angel's heart, the seed of pride grew into an obsession to replace God himself as the rightful ruler of the universe. Satan was casted out of heaven because of Pride. Along with one third of the other angels who followed Satan; therefore those who rise up in defiance against God, there is nothing ahead but disaster.

Isaiah 14:12-15 (NIV) - How have you fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, "I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of the assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will make myself like the Most High" But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the the pit.

Psalm 10:4 (NIV) - In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts, there is no room for God.

God hates pride.

Proverbs 8:13 (NIV) - To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.

James 4:6 (NIV) - But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble."

Do you think bitterness in one's heart can have a "poisonous" effect on those around you?

Why we need to forgive:

  • Because we are forgiven, we have an obligation to forgive.


Ephesians 4:32 (NIV) - Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV) - If you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Understand what forgiveness means:

  • Forgiveness does not mean forgetting but we should not bear one another's burdens by bringing it up.

Colossians 3:13 (NIV) - Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

We need to confess our own sin to God:

1 John 1:8-10 (NIV) - If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. 

~ This study was based on a Sunday, February 10, 2019 Worship Service at Parkway Bible Church, message brought by Pastor Mitch; additional notes added based on reading from Discover Bible Study Guide Books~

The Heart of the Matter "The Problem of a Bitter Heart": FAQ
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