The seed of bitterness is a hurt that is planted in someone.
Bitterness doesn’t just spring up overnight. It has been nurtured over a period of time. The world is filled with people who have never dealt with “old hurts” in their lives.
Weeds! This time of year there are more weeds in my garden then anything else. The weeds are hidden down under the soil throughout the winter months and faithfully return each year to poison everything else in the garden. I must dig out these weeds and grab a hold of the roots to keep them from creeping through all my good plants.
Hebrews 12:15 – Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. (NLT)
In the Scripture above – Paul tells us to watch out for that poisonous root of bitterness as it grows up. Why? Because once it grows up, it will corrupt many. Eventually that bitterness will become a harvest of pain – not only for you but for others in your home, your work, your church, and in your community.
What happens when we don’t receive the grace of God?
When we cut off the grace of God that he has given to us to deal with hurts in our lives, we are actually throwing away the only medicine that will make us well again. God gives us a divine influence to help us overcome the hurts done to us – by others and also by ourselves.
Grace is a Greek Word – charis (khar’-ece) – graciousness; a divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life.
When we accept the grace of God, we gain a heart of grace from God. Then our hearts will overflow in love, peace, and joy.
The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:31 – Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.
A good illustration of bitterness taking over our lives is told by Dr. Anthony T. Evans in an article – Guiding Your Family in a Misguided World:
One day, two monks were walking through the countryside. They were on their way to another village to help bring in the crops. As they walked, they spied an old woman sitting at the edge of a river. She was upset because there was no bridge, and she could not get across on her own. The first monk kindly offered, “We will carry you across if you would like.” “Thank you,” she said gratefully, accepting their help. So the two men joined hands, lifted her between them and carried her across the river. When they got to the other side, they set her down, and she went on her way.
After they had walked another mile or so, the second monk began to complain. “Look at my clothes,” he said. “They are filthy from carrying that woman across the river. And my back still hurts from lifting her. I can feel it getting stiff.” The first monk just smiled and nodded his head.
A few more miles up the road, the second monk griped again, “My back is hurting me so badly, and it is all because we had to carry that silly woman across the river! I cannot go any farther because of the pain.” The first monk looked down at his partner, now lying on the ground, moaning. “Have you wondered why I am not complaining?” he asked. “Your back hurts because you are still carrying the woman. But I set her down five miles ago.”
That is what many of us are like in dealing with our families. We are that second monk who cannot let go. We hold the pain of the past over our loved ones’ heads like a club, or we remind them every once in a while, when we want to get the upper hand, of the burden we still carry because of something they did years ago.
How do we know that the seed of bitterness has been planted into our heart?
- Constantly replaying it in our minds
- Become rude and critical about everyone and everything
- Causes physical illnesses
- Family and friends start having the same symptoms as you
How do we deal with this root of bitterness?
- Do nothing – allow this poison to grow and spring forth to destroy you and others.
- Dig it up – that is how God deals with it.
Once you are willing to allow God to examine your heart and start showing you all the roots of bitterness that have grown within you – God can cut them out. Admit that you have allowed bitterness into your life and confess and repent of those sins that you have nurtured in your life.
1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (NIV)
What do you gain from releasing the hurts and the bitterness that has taken root in your life?
You will start to allow the Fruit of the Spirit to spring forth in your life – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
What happens if you decided to hold onto your hurts and bitterness?
If you haven’t already noticed it – you will see anger start developing in your heart.
Because of hurt in our lives that is not dealt with in a godly manner – that hurt springs forth and damages our relationships, it steals our joy, it robs us of our peace. Like the good plants in our gardens, the weeds will spread and spring up and eventually choke the life out of the other plants.
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for GRACE. Help us to receive it willingly from our hearts. Help us to seek the medicine that helps us to let go of hurts and bitterness. Father God, you have always been so faithful and just to forgive our sins. Help us to release our burdens to you and allow you to work in our hearts to free us from all strongholds of the enemy. I ask this in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.