Beware of the Root of Bitterness
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 12:15 (ESV)
Life will bring wounds and hurts from others, even those we love and who love us. It’s the nature of the fall and the curse that we now live under. Though Kingdom people have been saved by God’s grace and mercy, we are still people in process, being conformed into the image of Christ daily. To expect to never hurt or be hurt-wounded by another, even those who are followers of Christ, is unrealistic and only setting ourselves up for great disappointment.
When wounded by another we have a choice to make. We can choose to forgive the offending party or we can harbor this wound, cultivate it, letting it take root in our souls. This wound now becomes a ‘generalized infection’ within us and poisons our life. Someone has said, “Harboring bitterness is like drinking poison thinking it will hurt the other person.” How foolish of us, yet many still hang onto past memories and hurts, dwelling on them and letting these control our emotional well-being.
God’s solution for relational hurts and wounds is forgiveness. It frees the offended person from the bitterness and the pain of the offense. While we may not be able to forget the offense, the pain of it is removed. Much like a physical scar can bring to mind past injuries, when the scar it touched there is no associated pain.
The only way possible to be free from past wounds is to forgive others. And the only possible way to forgive others is to first, fully understand how much we have been forgiven. Jesus reminds us that those who have been forgiven much love much (see Luke 7:47).
Is there some offense that you have been clinging too that has taken root and bears toxic fruit in your heart? Release that offense and forgive the offender, knowing that you have been forgiven a much, much larger debt due to your sin against the God Himself. The truth will set you free!