Bitter Roots

"The heart knoweth his own bitterness" (Proverbs 14:10a).

"I can't believe it, Mom!" cried my son. "Look at this!" Walking to the flower bed where my son was standing, I looked down and shook my head. Sure enough, the noxious weed that we had been trying to eradicate was back in our flower bed again. Frustrated, I realized the problem was my fault. When we had first moved to our home several years before, I had thought this weed was a flower. Unfortunately, after watching the other flowers choked out by this weed's entwining, tubular roots, I knew I had made a mistake in letting it grow.

"OK, that's it!" I said exasperated. "Let's dig two feet down and turn over the soil and maybe we'll find all the roots to kill it this time." For the next two years, our flower garden project for homeschooling suffered, as my son and I attempted to prevent this weed from damaging any more of our tulips, irises, columbines, and other perennial flowers.

The Bible warns Christians of another root that can destroy in a far greater way — the root of bitterness. In Hebrews 12:15b, the writer says, "Lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled." As believers, we must forgive those who hurt or offend us. When we refuse to forgive, bitterness grows, intertwines itself around our Christian witness, and chokes out our joy in Christ. Our lives become sour, and we see the world through critical eyes and speak with skeptical and sarcastic remarks. Not only is the Holy Spirit grieved, but also those we touch are affected by the ugliness of bitterness.

Has bitterness taken hold in your life? Perhaps you have a family member or friend who has hurt you deeply and you've refused to forgive him. Be careful that the anger you're holding onto doesn't lead to bitterness. Why not let God uproot the pain and renew your bitter heart with a flowering heart of forgiveness and love? "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:30-32).

Lord, I know I need to deal with the hurt and anger I feel. Give me the strength and desire to forgive as You forgave me. Please, help me to lay the pain at Your feet to find Your peace and joy again. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Comments(16 comments)

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SARAH R 04/12/2011 05:06:57

Thank you. This devotion has come at just the right time as our family is dealing with a neighbor and behavior that has begun to leave me with bitter feelings that I am having more than a hard time letting go of. Although I know forgiveness is key to my Christian faith, the sin character in me has been working to harden my heart against this neighbor. I know God is working through this devotion on my heart. Thank you again.

BROOK L 04/12/2011 05:27:29

I just had to overcome bitterness in a family situation....I could feel it trying to destroy DOES affect every area of our lives...

CHRISTINE V 04/12/2011 06:41:20


TAMMY P 04/12/2011 10:08:16

I can so relate to this one, and so very fresh too. I have been let go from my volunteer position in our church coffee shop after 5 years of working in it and 3 of those being the manager. It has been a very difficult time for me as my whole world changed because of it. I am still trying to work through this and I know that it will be longer than I really want to deal before I feel like it hasn\'t torn me completely apart. I am dealing most with trying not to blame others for why but to succumb to the fact that it was God and not man.

BOBBY M 04/12/2011 12:25:37

Love/Hate I love when these messages speak to my problems that I am enduring in the moment that I am wrestling with them - and I also HATE that it proves how bad I am apart from God.... ugh.

CHRISTINA H 04/12/2011 16:50:21

This devotional blog has helped me, I just realized that I have been very bitter about some things and that i wanted it to stop so I just prayed about starting new with forgiveness of bitter feelings I\'ve been having .So thank you for whoever wrote this .I felt like it was written for me to read.Sincerely,Christina Hilton

Gill O 04/12/2012 02:29:16

This is so timely....we have issues in our family which need addressing but first of all I need to let God show me my faults and help me to confess to him and receive his healing strength...thankyou in a time of such deep pain and tears it is so good to hear clearly Gods truth and favour.

KATHY S 04/12/2012 06:50:12

Forgiveness is something I tend to to quite easily, except when it comes to those who have hurt my son. If you hurt me, I can generally forgive you pretty easily. I have learned to let things \"roll\" off so to speak. But, when it comes to my son, it\'s a little different for me. I have had the hardest time trying to forgive all the children who were mean to my son, bite marks on my son\'s hand for a week, marks on my sons head from being punched, ECT. Trying to forgive the school district for their blatent disreguard for saftey at the school. For making accusations that my son could have \"made up\" other children being mean to him because my son has Aspberger\'s syndrome. When I reiterated that they should refer to the photo\'s I brought along to the meeting of the marks on my son, they all were quiet. I try and revert to a line in one of Tyler Perry\'s movies \" you have to forgive them, not for them, but for yourself. If you don\'t forgive, you let them keep the power over you.\" With those words, I continue to try and forgive those who have done wrong to my son. But, it is very hard. I\'ll keep oraying that God would heal my heart. I don\'t want \"weeds\" growing in my heart, especially if those weeds try and take up the space where I hold love for Jesus and my family. Excellent Devotional. Thank you.

RENEE S 04/12/2012 07:01:53

This one was a good one for me- I\'ve had a strange couple of years worth of some very hurtful behavior from believers and some family. Given the length of time I feel convinced that God is trying to grow character in me but, bitterness is present. I need to be kind, have a tender heart and forgive.

DIANE C 04/12/2012 07:29:33

Weeds make a great analogy for bitterness. Animosity destroys. So Forgive? Yes. But the Bible also teaches us to be wise and discerning. Some people are just plain unhealthy, and hurtful and selfish. Acknowledging the reality of who they are, and what you should expect from them, is important too. And helps in the forgiving process. Matt 7:6

KATHY S 04/12/2012 07:40:52

I seldom write in here twice, so please forgive me for taking up the space. It just hit me that this was an opportunity to ask for prayer from all my homeschooling sisters and brothers. 3 yeras ago, My neice got angry at my briother for switching the dogs food , the dog had lost some fur, and when my brother took the dog to the vet, the vet said that it wasn\'t from the food. My brother resumed the dogs old organic kibble diet and her fur patch that was missing grew back. My brother is a good and caring Father, he didn\'t wanrt the divorce, he did everything in his power to reconcile with his x wife, and he spent every second that he wasn\'t at work, with his daughter. He even played dolls with her when she was little, helped her with homework, took her to Hawaii multiple times, amongst other vacations, always put his daughter first. However, my neice has not spoken to my brother, her grandmother or me since that time ( 3 years). She will go off to College in the fall, and I fear she still will not have made peace with my brother. I don\'t understand why she has turned her heart against my brother, and why it has taken so long to reconcile. Perhaps when she starts at the Christian college, she will be convicted to forgive, I can only pray about it. So, if any of you has a moment in your day, can you pray that she would find it in her heart to forgive my brother for changing the dogs food? He loves her so much as we all do, and we don\'t understand why this is taking so long. I don\'t even understand why it was such a big deal to begin with. No matter God knows, and I pray thathe will heal her heart, take the \"weeds\" out and replace them with forgiveness and love. Thank you all for listening and for your prayers.

TABITHA J 04/12/2012 08:54:39

When I first met my husband, he had some bitterness about his past and that he did not want me to meet his family, which I told him that both my mom and I only knew the maternal grandparents (she knew both maternal grandparents, I only knew my maternal grandmother) and I don\'t want our kids to suffer the same fate. I even told his dad about it, including my only memory of my paternal grandfather (seeing him laying in a casket). Slowly, his bitterness is going away, but it is not completely gone away, not sure if it would or not due to being in foster care for so long.

REBECCA H 04/12/2012 13:08:31

Becca H \"Wow\"! Have you ever had a situation where you have been angered and hurt by someone and you hold on to it then you suddenly run in to them at the gym and all the anger starts to boil up inside again? It\'s like this person has totally ruined my day and then I come home and look at my e-mails and read this. Thank you Heavenly Father for opening my eyes to see. All is lifted away!

Ratnakara B 04/12/2012 20:17:19

Bobby Ratnakar Thank you for this article \"Bitter Roots\". It blessed me a lot.

Alcinda Ruuskanen 04/12/2013 17:29:14

This applies to many other "bitter" things that can slowly take root in our lives if we are not watchful. For example, immoral images and words via television, computers, etc. Satan is sneaky and worms his way into our thoughts gradually when we watch, read or listen to "just a little bit" of e.g cussing, nudity, sacrilege, disrespect. A little gradually can become more and more. It requires being diligent and going against that which is popular in the world. Sometimes it's hard for kids to stay focused on the ultimate goal of this life, which is life eternal in our Father's presence.

SHELLY MCCREARY 04/23/2013 19:18:56

Shelly M. Thank you so much for this devotion. I have been working on the forgiving stages for others and myself. Sometimes we forget that the person we are the hardest on and cant forgive is ourselves. Lord thank you for loving me and forgiving me and grow my heart like yours so I can accomplish the same.

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