Do You Have Roots Of Bitterness?

looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled
— Hebrews 12:15

In other words, see to it that you don’t fall short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. (Hebrews 12:15)

Envy, jealousy and bitterness are sisters. They are not only destroyers of the soul, but also of our physical well-being. As Proverbs says, "A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

I have a habit of copying and pasting different things I read online that I like and then I file them if I want to use them later in a sermon. I remember a devotion from a lady who had received an email from a friend asking her to do something, but I don’t remember what that was, and it wasn’t in the paragraph I filed.

Anyway, the lady who received the email was furious about what the email had asked, so rather than replying she decided to forward the email to her husband for advice. She had read and reread her email, which only fueled her fury.

She admitted that bitterness had taken root as she typed a note to her husband, spewing out all the anger and frustration. When she finished, she reviewed her message with great satisfaction. She had expressed herself well to a safe person, being her husband. Then she pressed send.

When she glanced at the “to” box, she was horrified when she realized she had hit “reply” instead of “forward.” You can imagine how she felt when she realized all her hurtful words and anger were now en route to her friend instead of her husband.

I can imagine she felt pretty sick, I know I would. To make a long story short, she and her husband agreed that she needed to email her friend and ask for forgiveness. So that’s what she did.

Her friend was very gracious, and her response was astounding. She thanked her for her apology and closed her response with these words, “I forgive you, so let’s just put this behind us.” Her words of forgiveness had melted the bitterness that had consumed her heart just an hour before. I can’t help but to think how hurt her friend must have been after reading the harsh words she had sent by mistake. Yet she chose to overlook and pardon her offense.

Listen folks, we must remember that we have choices when we’re offended. We can either surrender our hurt or hold on to our hurt. We can either extend grace or harbor bitterness. We have a choice and it’s up to us what we do.

Bitterness is like poison that infects our lives. Our text in Hebrews 12:15 compares bitterness to a root that overtakes our hearts and causes trouble in many other areas of our lives. Although our feelings of bitterness, envy, anger, and resentment may seem justified, they are not. Instead, they’re hurtful and destructive to ourselves as well as to the person who hurt us.

God’s Word teaches us to forgive and instructs us not to let the sun go down while we’re angry. When we do, we give the devil a place to work in our hearts and relationships. The example of the two friends I shared with you is a great example of making the right choice. Instead of allowing the enemy room to plant relational weeds between them, the ladies friend chose forgiveness, extended grace, and prevented a bitter root from taking hold.

She became a living example of the apostle Paul’s words to the believers at Ephesus: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). Her wise example helped her friend to move beyond her anger. Her friend’s gracious decision modeled humility. Her choice to forgive salvaged their friendship and changed how she reacts toward others who offend her.

I pray that God’s grace would flow through me, leaving no room for bitter roots. God Bless!