“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.” Hebrews 12:15
When we’re hurt, offended or disappointed, it’s normal, healthy even, to be upset. However, when that offense isn’t resolved or that anger goes undealt with, it buries itself in our heart, giving the devil a foothold,* taking root as bitterness. It’s flower, resentment, which is defined as a combination of anger, annoyance and hatred, grows from its center. It is watered with the idea that we have been dealt with unfairly, and can grow against man or God. Considered poison, bitterness chokes out the cultivation of healthy relationships and stains our worldview with cynicism before it begins to manifest physically, as modern psychology links bitterness to insomnia and high blood pressure and says it can go so far as to threaten our immune systems by raising our stress baseline.
Calling bitterness a root implies a number of things. Roots not only anchor the whole plant and hold it steady, but if a flowering plant is threatened, even to the point of being cut, a root will keep the plant alive, and it can even grow back. This is why Paul tells us to get rid of all bitterness.* He knows that if we just try to get over the resentment, or fake it till we make it, we will never be free from it. We need to do the work to dig it up, bringing the unresolved feelings to light. Today, we take hold of the root of bitterness and ask God to reveal the source. We open ourselves to forgiveness, whether we need to give or receive it.
*Eph 4:26-27, 31
Where are you harboring feelings of resentment? What unresolved event do they lead to?
What do you need to bring to light through confession? This could be the initial hurt or offense that was left unresolved, feelings of being disappointed or being treated unfairly by God, or actions you’ve taken propelled by resentment.
Take this time to personalize your confession, and open yourself to give forgiveness for those who’ve hurt us or receive it for holding a grudge against God.