Bitterness, in its self-righteous and self-justifying way, not only gives voice to the offenders faults, it also actively seeks the offenders destruction. Bitterness, through self-righteousness and self-justification, abandons ethical constraints; it begins to excuse itself from the ethical obligation it imposes on everyone else. Herein is the hypocrisy of bitterness: the bitter person begins to treat their offender as bad, or worse, than the offender treated them. The very thing the embittered person condemns in his offender, he justifies in himself. Let me give just two examples.
1. Many times in cases of marital unfaithfulness, the "innocent" spouse becomes bitter. This bitterness is justified by the offended spouse because of the awful betrayal on the part of the offending spouse. If this bitterness continues unchecked it will, in its own self-righteous and self-justifying way, quickly dispense with moral and ethical restraints. This bitterness will drive its victims to justify in themselves what they hated in their offenders.
Bitterness will drive an offended and embittered husband to justify viewing pornography, because what she did was much worse. "At least I am not actually having an affair," he justifies self-righteously.
Bitterness will drive an offended and embittered wife to justify having an affair solely for the purpose of making the husband pay for what he did.
2. It is easy for a pastor who is robbed of members by an unethical neighboring pastor to become bitter. As a result he will talk about how detests that no good sheep thief and began to shout ministerial ethics from the roof top. That same bitterness, left unchecked, will cause him to take advantage of opportunities to steal saints from the man who offended him, and justify it.
The bitter pastor will not stop with the man who offended him. He will look for reasons to become suspicious of other men as well to justify stealing from them, all the while still condemning the man who originally betrayed him.
Saints and Ministry: let's do not let our bitternesses make hypocrites out of us. Let us not justify in ourselves what we detest in others. There will be plenty opportunities to become bitter, so let us pray for the grace of God to save us from this awful poison.