Troubled By A Root Of Bitterness

September 26, 2013

Troubled By A root Of Bitterness

            Roots are a very necessary part of a tree.  At times they can be an obstacle for us.  Farmers are stopped short if they are plowing close to a tree and one of the plow shares strikes a massive root.  In the same way, a root of bitterness can be a serious source of trouble for us.  We read about the root of bitterness in Hebrews 12:15.  “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.”

Bitterness is a state of mind.  It often begins when someone does something that displeases us.  What was done to us or said about us was offensive and unjust.  We were hurt, and rightly so.  But, why go on hurting indefinitely?  If we are hurting in some part of our body, we go to the doctor to see if we can get some relief.  Doctors can’t help us if we are hurting emotionally.  We need to find a way to get rid of that root of bitterness.  If we don’t, it will go deeper, just as tree roots grow deeper.

We need to seek relief from the hurt that is caused by bitterness.  After surgery we feel pain, but along with the healing comes relief from the pain.  If we are hurt by something someone has said or done, it’s only natural that we will suffer, but there needs to come healing.

Pain, that is caused by a root of bitterness, is a subtle thing.  There is a satisfaction in holding a grudge against someone.  We may even seek revenge which also gives satisfaction.  The problem is, instead of making peace and seeking healing, you are continuing hostility.  Hebrews 12:14 speaks against this attitude.  “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”

How do we get untangled from the root of bitterness?  When many people struggle with emotional problems the first thing they think of is scheduling an appointment with a psychiatrist.  Most likely he will give them a prescription for a drug that will alter their emotional state as long as they are on the medication. It doesn’t solve the problem.  The better, and biblical solution, is to “seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14).  That may mean you will need to talk to the one who hurt you and assure him or her that you are willing to forgive them.  That’s what God tells us to do in Matthew  8:15-16 “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.”

Bitterness takes its toll on our emotional state.  It contributes to malice, strife, and contention.  It may inadvertently get you into more serious trouble.  It may be that the pain we suffered at first is relieved, but we are still troubled about it.  It is far better to forgive and forget.

Some people find it hard to forgive.  If you are one of them, ask God to help you.  To forgive doesn’t mean you are saying that no wrong was done by your offender.  It just means that you aren’t going to keep having bitterness towards him or her.  That’s what God did for us, and he asks that we do it for others.  “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).





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