7 Traits of Bitter People


Hebrews 12:15 tells us a root of bitterness can spring up and will defile many. This happens because bitterness can spread to others even through multiple generations.

When it comes to the emotions, bitterness refers to a lingering sense of resentment, anger or disappointment. This feeling often arises from perceived injustices, betrayals or unfulfilled expectations. A bitter person may frequently concentrate on past hurts or wrongs, find it difficult to forgive and struggle to experience contentment or joy. This emotional state can affect their interactions with others, leading to a negative, cynical outlook on life.

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This is seen in the life of Esau, whose hatred toward his brother, Jacob, resulted in historical animosity that pitted his future family line against Jacob’s. (Interestingly, Esau is mentioned in Hebrews 12:16.)

Based on the stories of Esau and the narratives involving Amalek and Edom (seen in the book of Obadiah), we can identify several traits of a person harboring bitterness. These can be understood in generational conflict and personal grievances.

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7 Traits of a Person With Bitterness

1. Unresolved anger. Esau’s anger toward Jacob for taking his birthright and blessing (Genesis 27) demonstrates unresolved anger that can later manifest as bitterness. The Amalekites’ attack on the Israelites (Exodus 17) shows a continuation of hostility that stems from the unresolved anger and bitterness of just one man (the tribe of Amalek descended from Esau).

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