“Make sure that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up, causing trouble and by it, defiling many.” — Hebrews 12:15
Bitterness is a deep root of sin. If allowed to surface, it can present itself as anger and resentment. It can harden the heart, hurt those closest to us, and can cause division in our families and within the people of God. Bitterness starts with a seed of unforgiveness. We may not even notice the seed has been planted, it can be so subtle. Unforgiveness is sin, no matter how small or insignificant it can appear. The Lord thought unforgiveness no small matter; He said if we do not forgive others then our Father will not forgive us (Matthew 6:15). As our unforgiveness turns into bitterness, we tend to feel justified in our feelings, as if we have a legitimate right to harbor the unforgiveness.
Recognizing the grace of God can put all of this into perspective enough to stop bitterness in its tracks. Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, but still died on the cross. I don’t think anything we could ever experience on this earth justifies us enough to not forgive and allow bitterness to take root. Compared to what our Lord went through, everything else pales in comparison. He was not bitter, though He probably had every right to be. Jesus forgave them all. The more we experience God’s grace and forgiveness by what Jesus did on the Cross, the more our hearts will reflect thankfulness, therefore extending grace and forgiveness to those around us. Let’s repent of unforgiveness, get our eyes off ourselves and meditate on the inexpressible grace of God. I believe this is where we will cut bitterness off at its root.
Father, let me not take Your forgiveness and grace for granted by not extending it to those around me.
Pray that the Lord shows you if you’ve allowed bitterness to take root in your heart by not forgiving others.