on bitterness

by Pastor Mark Jordan

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” (Hebrews 12:15, NIV)

Recently, God has been working with me on bitterness. Honestly, it is not something I like to talk or think about, but it is real – and not just for me, but many. Bitterness can be caused by many things, but for me, I think it mainly has to deal with disappointment, rejection, fatigue, and lack of control. Does that resonate with you? Are there any others you might want to add?

Bitterness is something that scripture talks about, which is why I chose today’s verse from the book of Hebrews. First of all, it shows that we have a relational responsibility with our brothers and sisters to connect when we sense bitterness might be taking root. This is the real deal, because our tendency is to disconnect; whether to lick our proverbial wounds, or punish others with our disconnection. Scripture gives some deep insight, however, when it comes to bitterness.

The bitter root in scripture refers to a poison that is ingested and makes the whole body sick…or worse. And since we believe that we are connected as family in the body of Christ, the defilement of many means everyone is affected by one’s bitterness.

Are you struggling with the poison of bitterness? The antidote is forgiveness. Remember the old line that says holding a grudge is like swallowing a poison and hoping it kills the other person? The same can be said of bitterness. Forgive what makes you bitter. Give and/or extend grace. Trust God. Then, He will take what makes you bitter and help make you better.

Prayer: Dear Lord, there are so many things that can make me bitter. Maybe it’s a major thing one day, and a minor one the next. Regardless of size, I know that bitterness is a poison that defiles many, beginning with me. Forgive me, please. By the power of your Holy Spirit, help me take what makes me bitter and make me better, so I may experience and express grace in all that I say and do, even when things happen to me I frankly do not like. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

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