Friday, October 7, 2022

Some Advice to Take Very Seriously

Friday, October 7, 2022

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.  Hebrews 12:14-15

Some Advice to Take Very Seriously

There are times in life when things happen to us that we resent and many times we react by venting our feelings in destructive ways. Sometimes our reaction can get us into trouble. This can happen in a family where there is abuse or a personality conflict between two family members. This can also happen really fast in church too. My opinion - those would be two major places that Satan would love for bitterness to divide us. 
The writer of Hebrews tells us that one of the things that get us in trouble is bitterness. A bitter heart can cause us many problems in life, emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually. Bitterness can steal relationships and your life away from you if you aren’t careful. Let’s look at what the writer had to say about bitterness and learn how to handle bitterness rather than it handling us.
The Definition of Bitterness
Our word “bitterness” comes from an old root word meaning to bite. That is very suggestive. Bitterness is like being bitten by a snake, releasing his venom and poison into our heart and life.  Bitterness is that feeling of hurt, resentment, anger, hate, and even revenge, that often build up in our heart when we have been bitten by certain experiences of life.
The Expression of Bitterness
James Merritt said, “Bitterness is harbored hurt hidden in the heart.” That is true, but the problem is, bitterness does not stay hidden.  When the prophet Jeremiah was persecuted by his family, opposed by the rulers of Jerusalem, hated by the people, he broke down and lashed out at everybody. In the book of Jeremiah, there are several monologues where he expressed his bitterness openly to God and accused Him of putting him into the ministry against his will. Jeremiah even cursed the man who carried the news of his birth to his father. Jeremiah’s example reminds us that bitterness is basically expressed two ways. Sometimes our bitterness is vented toward others, sometimes it is vented toward God.
 First, bitterness is expressed to others in our lives- For example you may be bitter at a boss that fired you, a spouse that walked out on you, a father who abused you, or a business partner that cheated you out of a lot of money. Bitterness is also expressed to God– For example you may be bitter at God because of chronic illness, loss of a loved one, or difficult life circumstances.

Have you ever seen a house, or the side of a house, completely covered up with vines that have grown up the wall and completely covered it?  That is what bitterness can do to our lives. The writer of Hebrews describes bitterness as a plant that develops to the point that it takes over in our life.  First it starts as a root.  it has to be cultivated.  There must be soil, sun, and water to nourish a root.  When we have a root of bitterness it can grow into an overgrown jungle plant if we nourish – or harbor it for a long time.  We allow it to grow and develop in our life instead of dealing with the feelings of bitterness when they first come up.  It will soon take over our life, crowding out all the good things like joy, happiness, contentment, and peace.  
We need to heed the words of the writer of Hebrews, See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.  If you a root of bitterness taking hold, take it to God. Don’t harbor it, thereby nourishing it so it can grow into a vine that strangles your life.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Ephesians 4:31

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