Friends, bitter roots are dangerous to our relationship with Christ and our accomplishment of His mission for us on earth. Consider this scripture:
“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness, no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12:14-15 NIV
BITTER ROOT DEFINED
“In Hebrew culture, any poisonous plant was called a 'bitter' plant. Poison destroys, and the result of ingesting a poisonous plant would be bitter, indeed. The author of the book of Hebrews uses a 'bitter root' as a metaphor for that which would bring harm to the church.” - Gotquestions . org
SYMPTOMS OF A BITTER ROOT
Symptoms of a bitter root would be any actions that harm the church at large, our individual local churches, or ourselves. As ministry and marketplace leaders, our sheep are those God has given us to lead. As we strive to provide leadership, we must check our attitudes and our actions to see that there is no bitter root growing in our midst. This goes for each of us personally, as a whole, corporately, and throughout the global church community of Christ-followers.
ACTIONS TO TAKE TO REMOVE A BITTER ROOT
As I search my heart to see why God has me writing about this today, two reasons come to mind.
First, Christ wants me to avoid growing a bitter root about some things. There are certain people that I know that put a lot of energy into having an appearance of holiness, that are faking it. What you see on Sunday morning is one thing, and what they do behind the scenes when no one is looking is another. I must extend God’s grace to them and avoid letting that color my willingness to co-labor with them for the cause of the Gospel of Christ.
Second, Christ wants all His ministry and marketplace leaders to extend a bountiful amount of grace to everyone. We are told in this passage of Hebrews to “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God.” “No one” are the operative words.
Let us give a never-ending flood of grace to those people and organizations that seem to have gone astray and are failing to be holy (in our estimation). Let’s strive to live in peace with everyone. And let us avoid a bitter root growing up in our own heart and in the heart of others.
I’m reminded of this scripture: “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Luke 6:42 NIV
I think we can substitute the words “bitter root” for “speck” and be accurate. First, may we look to ourselves, see if there are any bitter roots growing inside of us, no matter how slight they may be. Then, let’s apply the healing balm of Christ’s forgiveness so we can see clearly to help remove bitter roots wherever we may find them in the community of Christ-followers. Amen.
Your aspiring servant, Daniel M.
December 19, 2023
POSTSCRIPT: Dear friends, if this daily, transparent “Conversations with Christ” blesses you, please go to www.SOLIDpastors.org, where you will find these posted, and a repository of all, in English and Spanish. If you ever want to chat, you can reach me at Daniel@SOLIDpastors.org. May Christ bless you richly as you have your own intimate, daily conversations with Christ.