A Bitter Root


A root of bitterness will never produce healthy fruit.

Hebrews 12:15

Yesterday, we came to think of bitterness as a poison—a concoction that we create for someone else but then end up drinking ourselves. Today, let’s consider another useful illustration that will help us understand the negative effects of resentment.

Hebrews 12:15 describes bitterness as a “root.” Think about that. Where do you find roots? That’s right—they grow underground, sitting beneath the surface and siphoning off nutrients from the ground around them. Whenever you see a plant, flower, or tree, you can be sure that just below the peaceful façade is a root that is sucking life from the soil and pushing it up through the plant’s foundation. Without the root, the vegetation would collapse and die.

Can you see how this image parallels your spiritual life? Perhaps you have a root of bitterness that is sitting just under the surface, practically invisible to anyone who walks by. Does the fact that the bitter root is barely noticeable mean that it is inert and harmless? Absolutely not! Instead, you can be sure that the root is doing its job—sucking the life from you and using it to nourish a weed of hatred, impatience, or discontentment.

A root of bitterness will never produce healthy fruit. When the root is harmful, it is senseless to expect anything other than bad fruit and a tangle of weeds.

The good news is, there’s a remedy to the problem. All it takes to kill a weed is to unearth and dispose of the root. Pull the source of your resentment out of its hiding place. Expose it and give it to God, who knows how to cultivate the heart.

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