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 you find yourself constantly saying something derogatory about someone else, pay attention to what’s happening! What you’re saying about that person is a tell-tale sign that some bad seed is trying to take root in your heart.
Hebrews 12:15 tells us how to recognize bad seed when it begins to produce destructive fruit in our lives. It says, “…lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you….” The words “springing up” are from the Greek word phuoo. This word depicts a little plant that is just starting to sprout and grow. It isn’t a large plant yet; rather, it’s a small seedling that is just breaking through the soil and starting to peek out at the world. However, the very fact that it’s peeking through the soil means there is a seed hidden in the soil producing this new life.
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This is a very significant picture. It tells us that bitterness doesn’t overwhelm us all at once. Instead, it grows a little here and a little there until it finally becomes a huge, ugly growth that defiles our entire lives. Bitterness usually starts peeking up out of the depths of our souls in the form of negative thoughts about another person or a sour, sharp, distrusting, cynical attitude toward someone who has offended us. If the root is not quickly uprooted and removed, that bitterness will eventually become a full-blown tree that produces bitter, wounding, hurtful, and scornful fruit for everyone who eats of it.
Hebrews 12:15 shouts its warning: If you don’t stop these attitudes, they will eventually “trouble you.” The words “trouble you” are from the Greek word enochleo, which means to trouble, to harass, or to annoy. It refers to something inside that bothers and upsets you so much, you are constantly pestered by thoughts about it. In fact, your whole life is stalked by these hassling, troubling thoughts. What you allowed to take root and to fester inside your soul has now become a major nuisance to your peace, keeping you upset and emotionally torn up all the time.
- Do you have a grudge against someone that just gnaws away at you all the time?
- Every time you see that person, do you feel something sharp and ugly inside?
- When you hear about that person being blessed, do you wonder how God could possibly bless him when he did such an ugly thing to you?
- Do negative thoughts like these pester and bother you all the time?
If you relate to the questions I just asked you, then watch out! It may mean that a root of bitterness is growing inside you and that bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness are starting to hound and stalk you wherever you go!
You need to get a grip on yourself and let the Holy Spirit help you permanently rid yourself of these feelings; otherwise, you’ll end up troubled, annoyed, and terribly upset. You’ll lose your peace, forfeit your joy, and toss aside your victory. Friend, you don’t want to take this path! It’s too painful, too hurtful, and costs you too much in your walk with God.
So if you find yourself constantly saying something derogatory about someone else, pay attention to what’s happening! That is a tell-tale sign that some bad seed is trying to take root in your heart that could potentially grow into a major issue that hassles your whole life. Don’t let it happen! Ask the Holy Spirit to help you jerk out those roots from the soil of your heart so you can stay free!
The Holy Spirit is willing, ready, and waiting to help you grab hold of those roots of bitterness and pull them clear out of your life. All He needs is your invitation, so why don’t you go ahead and ask Him to assist you right now?
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I ask You to please forgive me for allowing negative thoughts about others to consume me. Even though I don’t like what they did to me, I have no right to be bitter and resentful. I realize now that I am acting just as ugly inwardly as they acted outwardly. In Your eyes, my sin is just as bad as theirs. I am truly sorry for allowing these attitudes to grow inside me, Lord. To the best of my ability, I turn right now from the wrong thoughts that have been consuming me, and I choose instead to speak well of those who have offended or hurt me. Holy Spirit, help me uproot those wrong feelings from my heart and replace them with love and forgiveness.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that my heart is free of bitterness, resentment, strife, and unforgiveness. God’s Spirit lives in me, and He doesn’t allow me to keep living with wrong attitudes in my life. He speaks to me when I begin to think poorly of others; He convicts me of every wrong attitude; and He helps me bring my thoughts under His control. Because my mind and emotions are controlled by the Spirit of God, I think only positive thoughts about those who are near or around me. If any negative thoughts about someone else try to enter my mind, the Holy Spirit quickly helps me recognize them and bring correction to the way I am thinking!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Is there one particular person or group of people you find yourself constantly speaking badly about? Why do you feel the need to speak so derogatorily about that person or group? What does this reveal about the condition of your own heart?
2. Has God been trying to deal with you about your attitude toward that person or group of people? Be honest!
3. Would you have to honestly admit this bitterness or unforgiveness has affected the level of joy you once experienced in the Lord? It’s difficult to be filled with joy when you are “eaten up” on the inside with negative thoughts about someone else. If you are being hounded by hassling thoughts, what do you plan to do about your condition?