III. Toxic Emotions: Bitterness – Session 14 - Parts C & C-a
Bitterness is a ruling spirit, a principality, because it has several lesser demons answering to it. These demons not only answer to bitterness, they give it protection and provides it armor. Each of satan’s principalities have lesser demons doing the same thing. The demons that make up the principality of bitterness are: unforgiveness, resentment, retaliation, anger, hatred, violence, and murder (see Illustration 1 “Armor of Bitterness Chart” – Session 14 – Part C-1a) – these are the powers which Ephesians 6:12 talks about.
Bitterness gains entrance through unforgiveness! The purpose in dealing with unforgiveness is to forgive the people who have hurt you and forgive yourself; until you deal with the trauma that happened to you through forgiveness, bitterness will not leave. If you still have pain in a memory that is evidence that there is bitterness there. We are going to take your hurt to the Lord in forgiveness and repentance and then He heals the broken heart and the pain (anger, resentment, hatred, guilt, shame, etc.) will go. Every bit of the pain must go or there is still bitterness. Now, let’s look at each part of the armor for the principality of bitterness separately.
Armor of Bitterness – Session 14 – Part C-a:
1. Unforgiveness - Unforgiveness keeps a record of wrongs against another person. Unforgiveness reminds, rehashes, projects and torments us with past negative events. It reminds us of what others have done to us, and what we have done to others.
2. Resentment - After unforgiveness has done its work, then here comes resentment. Resentment builds on the foundation laid by unforgiveness. The record of wrong ferments and resentment begins to grow. Resentment generates a feeling of ill will toward a person who has wronged us. Resentment constantly reminds us of past events, seeking to stir up negative sentiments that stew and ferment within us.
3. Retaliation - After unforgiveness and resentment have gained a foothold in our minds, now it's time to get even; that is where retaliation comes in. Have you ever seen a bumper sticker that said, "I don't forgive, I just get even?" Retaliation projects those kinds of sentiments.
4. Anger - Unforgiveness first gains a foothold, and then resentment gains a foothold. Next, retaliation gains a foothold. Each of these manifests itself in ways that are progressively worse than the other. When retaliation wins its foothold, bitterness sends out anger and wrath. Anger and wrath are outward expressions that remind others that we are not going to forgive them, that we resent them, and that we plan to get even. With anger, we have crossed a line. Anger gives the evil spirit a voice. Unforgiveness, resentment, and retaliation can be kept unspoken, eating away at a person's own spirit through self- deception. Anger is caused by the root of bitterness, because of unforgiveness, resentment and retaliation. Maybe you have experienced this yourself. We all have. We get angry when a trust has been breached, resulting in hurt. We feel victimized. Then unforgiveness, resentment and retaliation well up and overflow with the fourth spirit, anger and wrath.
Dr. Dorothy E. Hooks