During Elevation Church’s series on Hebrews 12 Pastor Steven encouraged us to read the chapter every day during the series which I did. I came across verse 15 “…see to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” That verse made me pause every day. God convicted me on some matters concerning bitterness and began to change my heart. One thing I learned is that it is hard to be bitter towards just one thing or just one person. It might start that way but then you will find that the “root of bitterness” grows and permeates into your core. You become easily embittered about other matters. Slowly but surely you aren’t bitter about one or two things. You are a bitter person. And bitterness is a poison that harms no one else but you. I found three very effective ways to keep the roots of bitterness pulled out of my life.
- Pray for the person you feel bitterness towards. “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Mark 5:44). It’s amazing how your heart will change towards this person when you pray for him every day and you don’t give bitterness a chance to grow. And it’s not a “Dear Lord, please change him so he’s not a pain in my neck anymore” kind of prayer. That is a selfish prayer. Who’s to say that God is not using that person to change you? Pray that God blesses, provides for and protects him; heals him in his broken places and if he isn’t saved, definitely pray for his salvation. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). Jesus said that while hanging on the cross about the people who nailed Him to it. Enough said…that trumps anyone’s reason to be bitter.
- Anytime a bitter thought comes into your mind, replace it with a Scripture and say it aloud until the thought passes. Spoken Scripture in the name of Jesus will stomp out the root of bitterness. Search the Bible for verses that relate to bitterness and unforgiveness and memorize them. Keep them in your pocket, literally or figuratively. Be prepared when bitterness creeps in and chase it out by speaking the Words of God at it.
- Praise God. Simple. Just start praising God. You can praise Him through Scriptures. I’ve strung a few together to get you started. They will set your mind on God and away from your bitter thoughts.
“Lord, I thank because I know that nothing can separate me from Your love, And I love you with all of my heart, soul and strength;You are my strength and my defense; You are my salvation, my God, and I will praise You and I will exalt You. For You are great and worthy of praise.And great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies; For Your word is right and true; You are faithful in all you do.”
Along this same line, it also helps me to put on praise music to facilitate the atmosphere of worship. If you are in an environment that is conducive to it, give it a shot.
The 1-2-3 punch to knock bitterness out of your life. But you have to activate these ideas. If you do nothing then the root of bitterness will overtake your life like kudzu and your life will become “defiled”.
Let me know if this helps…