April 19, 2011
“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.”
It begins as a tiny seed, but quietly grows to maturity and, if left unchecked, produces poisonous fruit.
A foul aroma always accompanies this toxic root and its rotten fruit. Yet, strangely, the one who possesses it is so often oblivious to its presence—or, worse, doesn’t mind its growing within him or her.
Rooted in the soil of pride and unforgiveness, the “bitter root” begins as a tiny seed of resentment. Someone says or does something to hurt you. At first you shrug it off; but, later on you begin to “chew the cud” on the injustice (real or perceived) and before you know it that’s all you can think about.
“How could he do that to me?!?” you mutter under your breath with indignation.
“Who does he think he is?!?” you continue.
And, before you know it, your mind’s in high gear. . .reliving every moment of the untoward experience in living color. . .and, in the process, your blood pressure goes up. . .your face grows redder and redder. . .your breathing grows quicker and shallower. . .your pupils dilate, etc.
Soon, the slight, slur or insensitive word/deed have been magnified to mammoth proportions—and the one who inflicted them upon you more resembles a 26-eyed, raging demon than he does a fellow sinner who falls short of the Grace of God just as you do.
But, dear Pilgrim, the Heavenly Father is grieved when a bitter root is allowed to grow within us. Its presence is odious to Him and its fruit of dissension, division, discord, etc., brings great shame to His Name.
That’s why we should always bring our hurts to Christ when we first experience them. He understands very well how we feel—for “He was tempted (tried) in every way we have been or ever will be, but didn’t react in a sinful way” (Heb. 4:14-16). And, by His Grace He will heal those hurts and replace them with the “peaceable fruit of Righteousness” (Heb. 12:11), which has a sweet, Heavenly aroma.
This cannot/will not happen if we “nurse our hurts” and “pitch a tent on our resentment.” We should “cast them into Christ’s loving arms” (I Pet. 5:7), Who then hides them in His Blood. He then will draw us closer to His Heart, reminding us it’s through such hurts and heartaches that we come to “know Him and the power of His Resurrection” (Phil. 3:10a).
Why not spend a few minutes right now asking the Holy Spirit to “search your heart and see if there be any bitter root within you” (Ps. 139:23-24)? If there is, ask Him to grant you the Grace to forgive and even begin interceding for this one who “has despitefully used you” (Mt. 5:44). That way you’ll delight your Savior and make sure others are not “defiled” (Grk. “maiino”—“to sully, taint, contaminate, etc.’) by anything you say or do.