March 17, 2024

Will You Be Bitter or Better?

Written by Pat Elsberry

It’s not time that heals all wounds. It’s hard work, and hard work takes time.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 17, 2024

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32, NKJV

There is no denying that walking through grief is one of the most complex roads we will ever travel. Dealing with loss and figuring out how to manage through it all can take down the strongest person. At some point, there comes a time when we have a choice to make – will you be bitter or better due to your loss? 

Loss, of any kind, doesn’t simply go away. It’s not like enduring an ominous thunder and lightning storm when you wake up the following day to blue, sunny skies, and all is forgotten. If only that were the case. To heal, there comes a time when we need to make a decision to deal with all that comes as a result of our loss.

I once read a story about a woman who lost her infant child hours after her birth. She didn’t think her life would ever mean anything again, but she eventually began to look at things differently. She viewed her child as a rose and her death as a thorn. As time progressed, she learned to bless the thorns in her life. You see, we can’t have a beautiful rose without having a thorn. Since one cannot exist without the other, we can only enjoy the rose when we embrace the thorn.

Perhaps you may have heard the expression “grief work.” Walking through grief definitely takes work because healing is not an instantaneous occurrence, and it’s not time that heals all wounds. It’s hard work, and hard work takes time.

Choosing to heal is another thing that takes hard work and is often challenging to do. When you encounter loss, you have a decision to make that will impact the rest of your life. You must ask yourself – Will you be bitter or better? The answer to this question is what will determine your future happiness. Although, it seems like this would be an easy answer, it’s far from it. In the case of child loss, our children are our future, and when they die, the future we imagined we would have died with them. 

Choosing to be better means choosing to move beyond our sorrow. It doesn’t mean we are leaving our children behind or, even worse, acting as if they never existed. Our children’s lives will always mean something. As I’ve learned, God can take one of the worst things to happen and make it into something good for His glory. 

I once read something that said joy is an individual experience. When a friend is joyful, we can be happy for them, but we don’t necessarily feel enlightened by their happiness. However, if you let me see your sorrow, I feel an affinity with you. It is our shared suffering – our thorns – that makes empathy possible. 

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3).


Father, when trials come our way help us look to you to discover the better instead of holding on to the bitter. Our only hope is found in you, Lord Jesus.


If you’re feeling angry and bitter about what life has thrown your way, call out to Jesus and ask him to remove any root of bitterness and fill you with his Holy Spirit who is pure love, peace and joy.

Related Reading

Psalm 71:20; Lamentations 3:22-23; Romans 12:12; Hebrews 12:15

Worship Resource

Lauren Daigle: Thank God I Do


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