Scripture Passage: Hebrews 12:14-15
Bitterness is a terrible problem that blows the joy out of our lives and leaves our souls in darkness. It often manifests itself in people as hostility and fault-finding. Sometimes, it can look like self-pity, or an aloof, disinterested spirit.
The Bible warns about the blight of bitterness and describes how to uproot it before it takes its full effect. Hebrews 12:14 says, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord…”
We must recognize the root of bitterness. A bitter person is someone who has generally been hurt. Adrian Rogers says, “The root of bitterness grows in the soil of a hurt that has not been properly dealt with.” The hurt could have been intentional, unintentional, or imagined; regardless, something happened and that hurt has turned into anger.
Second, we see the fruit of bitterness: “…looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled…” (Hebrews 12:15).
Bitterness produces physical and emotional trouble; it fatigues us, it stresses and depresses us, and it can even make us sick. It also brings spiritual trouble; anger becomes a sin when we begin to live with it—when we nurse and feed it and cherish it.
The bitterness turns to wrath, which burns slowly, then explodes into an unproportionally big anger. The arguing and clamoring lead to evil speaking, and then tragically transforms into malice—a desire to harm someone else.
Finally, we must pursue bitterness to uproot it. Because bitterness is an underground sin, we have to seek it out. When we live outwardly good lives while bitterness festers beneath the surface, we prune its limbs while strengthening the root.
The only way to uproot bitterness is forgiveness. On the basis of God’s grace, we must forgive others as God has forgiven us. We must make things right with our brothers and sisters if we want the love of God to take root in our hearts, instead.
Apply it to your life
Do you feel the blight of bitterness, deep down in your soul?
Adrian Rogers says, “There may be somebody who has shut you out, but I want you to take God’s love and bring him in—for Christ’s sake and what He has done for you.”