Bitterness takes hold in our lives in a number of ways. It can start from feeling jealous, hurt, angry, or even fearful. And while we often believe bitterness punishes someone or something else, the only thing that is truly punished is us. Bitterness is a poor substitute for justice. In this video, Pastor Brandon Bonville shares a story from the Bible that can help you understand the root of your bitterness, and how you can take steps to overcome it.



The story of Absalom is filled with scandal, murder, rebellion, and a family feud
that rivals any to this day.

[2 Samuel 18:5-8]

And the king gave this command to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: “For my sake, deal gently with young Absalom.” And all the troops heard the king give this order to his commanders. So the battle began in the forest of Ephraim, and the Israelite troops were beaten back by David’s men. There was a great slaughter that day, and 20,000 men laid down their lives. The battle raged all across the countryside, and more men died because of the forest than were
killed by the sword.

The first lesson we learn from him is…

A life of bitterness has a root cause.


[2 Samuel 13:1]

Now David’s son Absalom had a beautiful sister named Tamar. And Amnon, her half brother, fell desperately in love with her.

[2 Samuel 13:15-17]

Then suddenly Amnon’s love turned to hate, and he hated her even more than he had loved her. “Get out of here!” he snarled at her. “No, no!” Tamar cried. “Sending me away now is worse than what you’ve already done to me.” But Amnon wouldn’t listen to her. He
shouted for his servant and demanded, “Throw this woman out, and lock
the door behind her!”

[2 Samuel 13:20-22]

Her brother Absalom saw her and asked, “Is it true that Amnon has been with you? Well, my sister, keep quiet for now, since he’s your brother. Don’t you worry about it.” So Tamar
lived as a desolate woman in her brother Absalom’s house. When King David heard what had happened, he was very angry. And though Absalom never spoke to Amnon about this, he hated Amnon deeply because of what he had done to his sister.


The next lesson we learn from Absalom is that…

A life of bitterness is filled with casualties.

[2 Samuel 13:23]

Two years later, when Absalom’s sheep were being sheared at Baal-hazor near Ephraim, Absalom invited all the king’s sons to come to a feast.

John A. Trapp says this… “Nothing is more unsafe to be trusted, than the fair looks of a festered heart.”


[2 Samuel 13:28-29]

Absalom told his men, “Wait until Amnon gets drunk; then at my signal, kill him! Don’t be afraid. I’m the one who has given the command. Take courage and do it!” So at Absalom’s signal they murdered Amnon. Then the other sons of the king jumped on their mules and fled.

[1 John 3:15]

Anyone who hates another brother or sisteris really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.


[2 Samuel 14:21-2]

So the king sent for Joab and told him, “All right, go and bring back the young man Absalom.” Joab bowed with his face to the ground in deep respect and said, “At last I know that I have gained your approval, my lord the king, for you have granted me this request!” Then Joab went to Geshur and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem.

[2 Samuel 14:24]

But the king gave this order: “Absalom may go to his own house, but he must never come into my presence.”

[2 Samuel 14:29-32]

Then Absalom sent for Joab to ask him to intercede for him, but Joab refused to come. Absalom sent for him a second time, but again Joab refused to come. So Absalom said to
his servants, “Go and set fire to Joab’s barley field, the field next to mine.” So they set his field on fire, as Absalom had commanded. Then Joab came to Absalom at his house and demanded, “Why did your servants set my field on fire?” And Absalom replied, “Because I wanted you to ask the king why he brought me back from Geshur if he didn’t intend to see me. I might as well have stayed there. Let me see the king; if he finds me guilty of anything, then let him kill me.”

[2 Samuel 15:1-6]

After this, Absalom bought a chariot and horses, and he hired fifty bodyguards to run ahead of him. He got up early every morning and went out to the gate of the city. When people brought a case to the king for judgment, Absalom would ask where in Israel they were
from, and they would tell him their tribe. Then Absalom would say, “You’ve really got a strong case here! It’s too bad the king doesn’t have anyone to hear it. I wish I were the judge. Then
everyone could bring their cases to me for judgment, and I would give them justice! When people tried to bow before him, Absalom wouldn’t let them. Instead, he took them by the hand and kissed them. Absalom did this with everyone who came to the king for judgment, and so he stole the hearts of all the people of Israel.

A life of bitterness always has one end…
a life of anger, rebellion, and hatred always has one more casualty to claim.

[2 Samuel 18:9-15]

During the battle, Absalom happened to come upon some of David’s men. He tried to escape on his mule, but as he rodebeneath the thick branches of a great tree, his hair got caught in the tree. His mule kept going and left him dangling in the air. One of David’s men saw what had happened and told Joab, “I saw Absalom dangling from a great tree.” “What?” Joab demanded. “You saw him there and didn’t kill him? I would have rewarded you with ten pieces of silver and a hero’s belt!” “I would not kill the king’s son for even a thousand pieces of
silver,” the man replied to Joab. “We all heard the king say to you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘For my sake, please spare young Absalom.’ And if I had betrayed the king by killing his son—and the king would certainly find out who did it—you yourself would be the first to abandon me.” “Enough of this nonsense,” Joab said. Then he took three daggers and plunged them into Absalom’s heart as he dangled, still alive, in the great tree. Ten of Joab’s young armor bearers then surrounded Absalom and killed him.


Cures for bitterness.


[Matthew 6:14-15]

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.


The first cure for bitterness is forgiveness.

[Romans 5:8] 

“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still


[Ephesians 4:31-32]

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

The next cure for bitterness is confrontation and honesty.

[Proverbs 27:9]

The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.


It may not always be what we WANT to hear, but it may be exactly what we NEED to hear.


Application Questions

  1. What stood out to you from this message and why?
  2. What is one thing God is telling you to START doing because of this message?
  3. What is one thing God is telling you to STOP doing because of this message?
  4. How will this message change how you act at home, work and in your relationships?