Don't Let Bitterness Kill You

Day 3 of 5 • This day’s reading


What is dangerous about a bitter spirit?

Once Ahithophel heard about David’s adultery with his granddaughter and the conspiracy to kill her husband, in that moment, David became his mortal enemy. So he packed up his bags and returned to Giloh, his hometown.

We know about this because when Absalom first contacted Ahithophel, he wasn’t living at court, offering his counsel to David: he was at home, miles away in Giloh.

Ahithophel’s root of bitterness remained unseen for a decade. For ten years, he was nursing his hurt, hatred, & bitterness; longing for some way to get back at David.

But it kept growing as he daily watered it with dreams of revenge. Then, one day, it sprouted & became a huge tree that dropped rotten fruit, poisoning thousands of lives.

Long before Ahithophel committed suicide, his spirit shriveled & died because he refused to forgive.

When we look at the second counsel that Ahithophel gave Absalom in 2 Samuel 17 verse 2, he says “I will strike down only the king.”

Ahithophel wanted to kill only one person–David! What’s unusual about this is that Ahithophel wasn’t a warrior. He was an advisor, a wise man, a sage–not a soldier. Yet he wanted to lead the attack on David and do the deed himself.

But even though his counsel was not heeded and he was not able to kill David, the rebellion that he helped nurture along with Absalom resulted in the death of 20,000 in the battle between David & Absalom. 

In Hebrews 12 verse 15, we readSee to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many”. 

A root is hidden beneath the ground, but it feeds the entire plant. A root is something unseen, hidden, repressed, and private and though unseen, it nevertheless feeds our soul, informs our mind, and fuels our motives.

But it’s a bitter root; so it poisons us and all we interact with. We must stay on the lookout for any root of bitterness because if it is left unchecked, it will spring up into a noxious weed spreading death and destruction.

David asked God for forgiveness in Psalm 51 and moved on with life, but Ahithophel became bitter and the root of bitterness led him to end his life.


“Hurt leads to bitterness, bitterness to anger, travel too far that road and the way is lost. “ -Terry Brooks


Lord, help me to recognize that walking down the road of bitterness is dangerous. Help me to retrace my steps, find forgiveness in You and offer forgiveness to the person who has hurt me. Amen