The Fruit of Bitterness

January 28, 2022 · by Katherine Grote

I have four kids whom I love and adore. They are my sun, my moon, my heart, and all the other ridiculous sappy things. I also homeschool those four same kids. This means they are also the cause for the tic under my left eye and why I sneak chocolate in the pantry on tough days. But even with those days, I wouldn't change anything. Besides, how else would I get to relearn the algebra I haven't used since high school? Other than that, one of my favorite things about homeschooling my Coconuts is the amount of beautiful, classic literature we get to experience together.

Now, I'm a sucker for an epic high-fantasy, action, love story. Especially one that happens to be true. And one of my favorites has all the makings of a fantastic story. A beautiful princess, a brave warrior, a selfish king, a prophecy. It's a very familiar one, but I want to take a little different look at it today.

So, here it goes….

In a faraway land many years ago, there lived a beautiful princess. As the king's daughter, she lived a charmed life, never wanting for anything. As in most stories of far-off lands and princesses, she fell in love with a brave warrior and desired to marry him. This handsome young man was courageous and popular with the people, but he was not wealthy and was certainly not in a societal position to marry a princess. However, our fair maiden's father, the king, was a political man and knew it would be in his best interest to allow the marriage to proceed. The king did not realize there was a prophecy on this young warrior's head that someday he would be king over the land. Time passed, and the king became bitterly jealous of our warrior because he saw the favor of both God and the people on him. His jealousy became so intense the king began to plot to kill him. Because of her great love for her husband, the princess defied her father and helped her husband escape. Her father, blinded by his anger and political aspirations, callously gave his daughter to another man to be his wife and proceeded to spend the next several years chasing our hero. The warrior's exile only ends when the king dies, finally allowing him to return to fulfill the prophecy spoken over him years before and take his rightful place as the king. One of the first things he does as the king is to take his wife back from the man her father had given her to. It was not out of some unrequited love, however, but more likely a political move as she had been the daughter of the king. His decision in this matter certainly did not stir up any of the old feelings she once had for him, as we now find her bitter and unhappy. It seems as if the main takeaway we are left with from her life is a warning.

Perhaps you've guessed the story to which I am referring. If you've spent any time in church, you've heard the story of Michal and David. Most notably, how she made fun of him for his exuberant worship before the Lord. Her story is always told as a warning about apathetic worship. But I think the lesson here is more profound and personal, and I find myself wondering…. How would I have responded?

If the man I loved and had protected from my father seemingly abandoned and forgot about me?

If I had been used as a political pawn for most of my life?

If I was pulled away from perhaps true happiness and love reciprocated for the first time in my life?

Would I have been like her and allowed my resentment to make me bitter?

I like to believe I would have turned towards God and allowed Him to heal me, but the longer I live for Him, the more I doubt myself.

Because offenses, especially in the church, can leave deep wounds in our spirits. Some wounds may look like they've healed, but at the slightest touch will quickly reopen and bleed all over anyone that comes near. Then there are wounds that have healed to the point where it appears to be a small scar, but underneath is tough scar tissue that looks and sounds an awful lot like resentment.

And like Michal, suddenly, we find ourselves drowning in the bitterness that was grown out of our resentment from past hurts and wondering why we are fruitless spiritually, emotionally, and relationally.

The Bible says that Michal was barren until her death. Bitterness brought forth fruitlessness.

I think the most important lesson in her story is not so much her response to her husband's worship but her response to her own wounded spirit. Instead of drawing near to God, her healer, and releasing her hurts, she cultivated a garden full of the poison ivy of resentment and anger. Refusing to be healed, she ended her life in barrenness.

We must be healed. And we have a God who wants to heal us.

He heals the brokenhearted

And binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

How many times have I been like Michal and withheld my own hurts from He who promises to bind up my wounds?  More than feel-good words on a page, that scripture is a promise to all of us.

But we must:



Humble ourselves.

It is the cure for the barrenness of bitterness and the hope we have through a God who loves us. A God who reached down through time with open arms full of healing and love. 

I choose to be healed. How about you?

Katherine Grote

About Katherine Grote

Katherine Grote makes her home in south Austin with her incredibly patient Hubby of 18 years, their 4 (slightly) feral children, who they affectionately call their Coconuts, and a neurotic dog named Asa. Their house is always full of stray kids and animals, laundry piles, copious amounts of coffee, and laughter. In addition to homeschooling and writing about lessons learned through life with the Coconuts, Katherine spends her time laughing at completely inappropriate moments, and engaging in random conversations with herself. She and her family are also children's evangelists and enjoy ministering together through children's services. Currently, she serves as the Austin Metro Section Children's Sectional Director and both her and her husband, Jason, are working towards becoming licensed ministers with the UPCI. They are passionate about their faith, their family, and their community. And drinking lots of really good coffee. Follow her on Facebook (Katherine Wolff Grote) and visit her blog at conversationswithcoconuts.com.