“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” (Hebrews 12:15).
A couple days ago, a person requested prayer for a family member who was bitter. He didn’t give any details, but I could tell by the way he phrased his request that he knew the ugliness and danger associated with bitterness.
As I began to pray for the Lord to help and deliver this person from the bitterness that she was clearly portraying to others, I felt a check in my spirit. I stopped, realizing that God had something specific He needed to hear from me on her behalf. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that God hears our heartfelt, faith-filled prayers (James 5:16), but I sensed He wanted to give me His perspective and directive on how to pray for her. After asking for His guidance, I realized others might also benefit from His leading.
The Holy Spirit prompted me to ask the Lord to take this bitter one back to the time and the place where that seed of bitterness had been planted. I felt moved to ask Him to show her how near He was at the time and how He was aware of every little detail of that event. I found myself asking Him to begin right then softening the soil of her heart so that as He pulled the root of bitterness out of her heart it would come out more easily and with less pain. That concept was a revelation to me: softened soil makes all kinds of things come out more easily–the good and the bad.
Let’s face it, pulling weeds or carrots out of brick-ish soil always leaves something behind. (Exodus 7:13) In some situations, that gives the problem the opportunity to repeatedly regenerate. I asked the Lord to allow forgiveness to flow freely out of her heart and to set this captive woman free from the chains of torture and pain that always accompany a root of bitterness.
God forbid that any of us would allow the seed of bitterness to take root in our hearts. Bitterness ravages our insides and warps the good way God made our minds to work. (Hebrews 12:15)
Have you allowed a seed of bitterness to grow in your heart? Would you describe your words and actions as spreading life and health or death and destruction? How willing are you to pray the prayer above and let God set you free?
God wants life for you–righteousness, peace, joy in the Holy Ghost, and that is the total opposite of a bitter heart. (Romans 14:17)
Bitterness can be so destructive not only to others but to ourselves. I know someone who is bitter about what he perceived as injustice (and he is probably right.) But it is done. He has literally crippled himself because he’s waiting for “them” to “make it right.” When in fact he probably hasn’t entered their mind in years. He certainly needs God to soften his heart in order to remove that bitter root.
I think we all have had to make that choice…bitter or better. I know I have. Thanks for your reply, Melinda.