PB&J Sandwich


Nancy Bentz discusses honestly assessing our bitter roots and why we judge others.

For you moms out there, I hope all this talk about roots and fruit makes you spiritually hungry. PB&J sandwiches make for good comfort food…but the Bread of Heaven provides comfort and nourishes and strengthens us in our inward parts in ways we sorely need and sometimes find ourselves crying out for.

Jesus, breaking the bread during His last Passover Communion with His disciples, said, “Take, eat, this is my body which is broken for you…” I want you to know that Jesus’ broken body and shed blood overcame and severed the power of every root with which we find ourselves bound today.

  • When we come out of hiding with Jesus and trusted others,
  • with a willing heart express our desire to be set free from the sin and shame that so easily entangles us, so we may walk and live differently with healthier responses, and
  • confess, repent, and both receive and extend forgiveness as Holy Spirit prompts…

…then He Who is the Spirit of Grace applies to our heart and mind the realness of what Christ accomplished on the Cross of Calvary. His overcoming reality becomes ours; we find ourselves owning it by exercising our right to possess this precious gift of life and freedom that He bought for us with His own blood. That’s shameless Love. Why would we refuse it?

It doesn't take long to realize that this PB&J bitter root judgment stuff can get relationally messy in a hurry.

Often, when it looks overwhelming or too undesirable to deal with, we back away. Ignoring it becomes a coping mechanism. So does filling our hours, days, weeks, and months with busyness…or eating…or sleeping…or activities…or church life…or sleepless nights of worrying…or you fill in the blank.

We try to convince ourselves that things are getting better or are really not that serious. Yet all the while, those roots buried in the ground of our lives are doing what they cannot help but do…producing after their own kind.

In God’s Word, it is called the Law of Sowing and Reaping. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7 NAS)

As for those personal bitter root judgments, God’s Word addresses them directly: “Do not judge lest you be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2)

The reaping – or measurement back to us – of what was sown or judged in others happens in two ways:

  • Bitter root judgments cause us to become more and more like the one we judge.
  • Bitter root expectancies tempt others to hurt us in the same way we have been hurt in the past.

Both are savvy shame-producers. The problem is, by this point we often aren’t even aware that it is shame from which we are operating and responding.

Even if we can identify a sense of shame, we may be entirely confused and confounded as to why certain things have happened in our life or continue playing out over and over again, like a stuck record (back when those existed!). We can get a clue by the two points listed above.

I hope this post has given you some things to think and pray about. I hope contained within are some budding clues and unfolding answers as to what may be happening in your own heart and life.

God has answers to the cry of ones in such dilemmas: “So what do I do about it?!”

For those who find that dagnabbed gavel of judgment in hand, I want to leave you with a point to ponder:

Who have I judged that when I look at them, I see the same thing in me? (Honest assessment needed here)

And for those experiencing ongoing hurt these days…another point to ponder:

What is the pattern of hurt I see playing out over and over again? (Self-pity does not a good assessor make)

I encourage you to name any consistent, ongoing bitter fruit. One instance does not a bitter root make, but when you see a distinct pattern, there’s a bitter root attached.

Answer these ongoing points to ponder in a journal; with a trusted friend; with your Bible and the ever-present Holy Spirit; with a reputable Christian counselor or spiritual growth life coach. But answer them. You may be surprised at what the Lord reveals, especially His desire to walk you out of shame and into healing.

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