Be Still Know
Hebrews 12.15 NLT
‘Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.’
Life can be incredibly hard, and many people experience terrible unkindness and injustice. It isn’t at all difficult to understand why this can lead to bitterness, but the fact is that that is the worst possible response. The only person who is damaged by bitterness is the bitter person. It does nothing to get back at the person who has caused the wrong and is incapable of bringing resolution to the situation. It just leads to more misery and suffering. Billy Graham wrote, “Bitterness is anger gone sour, an attitude of deep discontent that poisons our souls and destroys our peace.” But it’s even worse than that because bitterness grows roots and so it keeps on destroying the people and relationships in its path. Bitterness can therefore be incredibly destructive of the life of a church and the writer to the Hebrews is keen that immediate action is taken as soon as it springs up.
There is only one way to escape the hideous damage of bitterness and that is forgiveness. If you have been wronged that is the last response that will come naturally to mind. Every one of us will feel the desire to even the scores and to secure justice, but through forgiveness you are opening the door to a new relationship and setting yourself free from the appalling consequences of bitterness. The language of forgiveness is God’s language. We have wronged him and the only way in which we could ever have a relationship with him is through his willingness to wipe the slate clean, and to forgive all our sins. In turn he looks to us to pass on his forgiveness to others. Corrie ten Boon who was imprisoned by the Nazis during the Second World War speaks with great authority on this subject, “Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.”
Question: How would you go about helping someone who was in the grip of bitterness?
Prayer: Loving Father, help me to love my Christian brothers and sisters so much that I will be willing to support and help them when they face difficult challenges. Amen
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