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. (Heb. 12:15)
The bitter root manifests itself in many ways: pain, jealousy, regret, anger, hatred, feelings of rejection or inadequacy, or guilt being some of the primary ones.
The bitter root enters us because of things others have done or things we have done ourselves. It modifies our lives and inhibits our ability to live the full and abundant life God planned for us. When we harbor the bitter root, we also spread it to others.
To rid ourselves of the bitter root, we must forgive. The root of the word “forgive” means to release. Too often, we confuse forgiving with forgetting. They are not the same thing.
To forgive means to rid ourselves of the anger, jealousy, hatred or guilt we feel toward another or ourselves. It does not mean that we forget the events or circumstances that brought the bitter root into us to begin with.
When we genuinely confess and repent of our sins we are seeking forgiveness. We are seeking it not only from God, but also that we release the bitter root caused by sin from our own hearts. When we harbor the bitter root, we sin because we cannot fully love.
Christ Jesus gave many examples of this forgiveness during his human life. Two primary examples are His forgiveness of Judas (He called him “friend”) and of those who hung Him on the cross. In doing so, Jesus freed His heart to love fully as He had commanded us to do.
So, to love fully, we must free ourselves of the bitter root. We must forgive those who have sinned against us, including ourselves.
Alive in The Word