Monday, August 27, 2018

When Roots Turn Bitter - Martin Wiles

Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Hebrews 12:15 NLT

The bloom was beautiful, but I knew the petals would soon wilt and die.

Roots are important. My wife loves cut flowers but often reminds me she’d rather I spend money on her for something that lasts. And cut flowers don’t. Placing them in water makes them last a few days, but the end is inevitable. They’ll eventually end up in the trash can. 

The only hope for most flowers is roots which are planted in soil, draw up nutrients, and give the plant stability. Without them, hope vanishes. And the roots must be healthy. Otherwise, the plant will still die.

One unhealthy root is bitterness, and the writer warns early Christians about letting it grow up in their midst. You would assume bitterness wouldn’t be found among Christians. After all, we have much to be thankful for. Forgiveness, salvation, God’s guidance, eternal life, Christian friends. But I’ve been in churches long enough to know believers aren’t immune to bitterness. It’s is a poisonous root with the capability of spreading. When it does, it kills all the reasons we have to rejoice.

Bitter roots grow from such things as trials, unpleasant circumstances, and the sour attitudes of others. Life can be tough, and when things don’t go our way for long enough, we can develop a bitter attitude, an attitude that touches everyone we associate with. Which, by the way, will be fewer people if our attitude continues. No one likes to hang around with bitter people.

Responding to difficult times with anger or bitterness is a choice. Just as no one can make me angry, no one can make me bitter. But it happens if I don’t monitor my attitude and remember my beliefs.

God is in control of every circumstance touching my life. He promises to work good from all things—even the ones that try my soul. I can let the trials make me better rather than bitter. When others see me facing them with optimism, prayer, and trust, they will be drawn to the One who gives me the strength to do so. Facing them in such a way opens up a path to conversations that might lead to others’ salvation.

Most flowers give off a beautiful fragrance. You can too when you respond to life’s circumstances with trust rather than bitterness. 

When life gets bitter, remember who’s in control.

Prayer: Father, help us ward off a bitter spirit that tends to grow when things don’t go our way. 

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