Don’t Let Bitterness Weaken Your Life

“Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.” (Proverbs 29:11 NIV)

The biblical strongman Samson had one extraordinary weakness: His primary motivation in life was simply to get revenge. His life was full of resentment and anger, so he was always reacting violently to people.

We see this several times in Judges 15. In verse 3, Samson said, “This time I have a right to get even with the Philistines.” Then, he says in verse 7, “Since you've acted like this, I swear that I won’t stop until I get my revenge on you.” Finally, in verse 11, he gives an excuse that is typical of a weak person, “He answered, ‘I merely did to them what they did to me’” (NIV).

That was Samson's modus operandi: He was always reacting. 

When you spend your entire life reacting to people instead of making your own choices, it will weaken your life. 

“I merely did to them what they did to me.” Have you ever used that excuse?

When you look at Samson's life, you see a guy pretty creative at getting even. Judges 15:3-5 says, "Samson said to them, `This time I have a right to get even with the Philistines. I will really harm them.' So he went out and caught 300 foxes and tied them tail to tail in pairs. He then fastened a torch to every pair of tails, lit the torches and let the foxes loose standing in the grain of the Philistines. He burned up the shocks and the standing grain, together with the vineyards and olive groves." 

That's pretty creative! But that creativity ultimately led to his captivity and death.

What's the lesson out of Samson's life? It’s better to control your anger and choose to act rather than react against everybody. Or as Proverbs 29:11 says, "Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end."

Talk About It

When you think about it, resentment, or getting even, is a waste of time, energy, and creativity. How does resentment hurt you instead of the other person?

Resentment can hold your creativity captive because you spend so much time thinking about your how you were hurt, or how you can get even. How do you think God would rather you use that creativity?


Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of, a global Internet community for pastors.

This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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