“Beware in case there is among you a man or woman, or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from Adonai our God to go serve the gods of those nations. Beware in case there is among you a root producing poison and bitter fruit” (Deuteronomy 29:17).

The Apostle Paul warned the Church in Ephesus to, “Get rid of all bitterness and rage and anger and quarreling and slander, along with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31). Why is it important that we uproot bitterness from our hearts? Paul gives us one of the answers above—it produces poison and bitter fruit. We can trace the effects of bitterness back to Cain and Abel. Scripture does not go into great detail about the relationship between the two brothers, but one can imagine that Cain didn’t kill Abel because of the one incident where God did not accept his offering. Though, that rejection could have either triggered or exacerbated bitterness within Cain. This may be why God said to him, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, it will lift. But if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the doorway. Its desire is for you, but you must master it” (Genesis 4:6-7).