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
When a person becomes offended and doesn’t deal with that offense correctly, that bitterness often churns so long in a person’s soul that it turns into a root of bitterness. This is exactly what Hebrews 12:15 is talking about when it says, “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.”
The word “root” is the Greek word ridzo. It refers to a root, such as the root of a tree. These are roots that have gone down deep and are now deeply embedded. Therefore, the word ridzo often denotes something that is established or firmly fixed.
By using the word ridzo (“root”), God is telling you that if you don’t repent of bitterness and remove it from your life, it becomes deeply embedded in your soul. Once it becomes this deeply rooted in your soul, your negative opinion of the offender will become firmly fixed. As time passes, your thoughts of judgment against him will become more developed, rationalized, and established. That root of bitterness will become so firmly fixed inside you that your angry, judgmental thoughts about the person will actually begin to make sense to you.
When a “root of bitterness” gets this deeply embedded in your mind and emotions, it’s no longer just a “root” you’re dealing with; now you have a mental stronghold. That stronghold of bitterness will take a lofty position in your mind and emotions. From that position, it will then present a myriad of logical reasons to explain why you shouldn’t have anything else to do with that person and why you should keep your distance from him.
The word “bitterness” comes from the Greek word pikria. It refers to an inward attitude that is so bitter, it produces a scowl on one’s face. In other words, you become so inwardly infected with bitterness that you are outwardly affected in your appearance and disposition.
This “bitterness” is acid to one’s soul, and eventually it begins to surface. When it does, the fruit it produces is unkind, sour, sharp, sarcastic, scornful, cynical, mocking, contemptuous, and wounding. Bitterness has nothing good to say about the other person. In fact, it looks for negative things to say about that person in order to affect others’ opinions about him as well.
If you find yourself constantly saying negative things about someone who has offended you or upset you in the past, it may be that a root of bitterness is trying to grow inside your heart. If this describes you, it is essential that you grab hold of that root of bitterness through the act of repentance and rip those destructive roots clear out of your soul! If you don’t, the roots of bitterness will go down deep into the soil of your soul, and eventually you’ll be filled with the bitter fruit that bitterness produces.
If God’s Spirit has been trying to deal with you about a negative attitude you have toward someone else, pay attention to what the Holy Spirit is saying to you. Go get alone with God. Ask Him to put His divine hand into your soul and to extract that ugly growth that is trying to grow inside of you. God wants to liberate you, but it must begin with your invitation!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I don’t want any bitterness to sprout inside me, so I am asking You to turn on the spotlight of the Holy Spirit and reveal any unforgiveness or resentment that might be lurking inside my heart. I know that the fruit of bitterness is very sour, and I don’t want that fruit to be a part of my life. So, Holy Spirit, I ask You to please show me every root of bitterness, and then help me rip it clear out of my soul!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that I refuse to allow a root of bitterness to grow deep into the soil of my heart. The instant I recognize that a seed of bitterness is trying to sprout in me, I will grab hold of that root, and through the act of repentance, rip those destructive roots out of my soul. I choose to walk in forgiveness and to stay free!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
- Is there anyone against whom you have a root of bitterness right now? If so, who is that person? Is there a reason you’ve allowed bitterness to fester inside your soul? Don’t you see that it would be more healthy for you to forgive your offender and to walk free of those detrimental attitudes?
- Is there anyone whom you have wronged and who now has a root of bitterness because of you? If yes, who is that person? What is stopping you from going to that person to ask him or her for forgiveness?
- Which person comes to your mind as an example of someone who has been controlled by bitterness? When you think of that person and the bitterness that has dominated his or her life, doesn’t it make you want to be sure that bitterness never controls you?