The Bible describes bitterness as a bitter root. Have you ever looked at your backyard and seen some weeds growing? You think to yourself, I should deal with that, but you don’t. The weeds are so small anyway, but after you procrastinate for a week, it seems like they’ve grown to be six feet tall. What started off as something that could have been easily dealt with has now become Jack and the beanstalk in your backyard.
The longer you let a weed grow, the harder it is to get rid of. If you’ve ever tried to pull out a big root, you know it’s backbreaking work, and many times you end up breaking it off and you think you’re good. You think, Phew! Glad that’s over. I’m done with it! Outta sight, outta mind. But, if you don’t get the entire root, there’s a whole lot more going on beneath the surface that you can’t see—and when it grows back, you’ll have to dig up more than you were anticipating because now you have a jungle of overgrowth to tackle as its roots have spread.
If you don’t completely uproot bitterness now, those roots will go down so deep they will latch on and interweave their way into every relationship you have. Bitterness will affect your view of everything you see. And it will keep you from the destiny God has for you to walk in. Offended people never make it to their destiny.
It’s a trap! Why give somebody or a particular situation that much power over your life? It’s been three years. It’s messed with you for ten years. It’s kept you from enjoying life for twenty years. It’s stolen your joy for thirty-two years. It’s kept you from so much in life, and now you feel like you can’t move on. Why not determine today not to allow it to rob you of one more day of your life? Better yet, refuse to get offended ever again.
It’s not saying what they did was okay. It wasn’t. That’s why it hurt.
With God’s help, you can do this. Most of us have a hard time forgiving because we don’t want to give them anything. I want to share with you a picture God gave me to help me think differently about forgiveness.
I’m on top of a tall skyscraper in San Francisco. I have a long, thick rope tied around my waist. At the other end of the rope is a piano that has just been pushed off the side of the building. It’s only a matter of seconds before all the slack is gone and the piano pulls me over the edge. I really want to hold on to the piano, but I’ll die if I do. See, most of us have a hard time forgiving others because, in our minds, we don’t want to give them anything, but forgiveness is not about giving them something. It’s releasing something. It’s me, untying the rope from around my waist, choosing life over death, because if I don’t, that piano will pull me over the edge.
That might be where you are. That bitterness is pulling you over the edge. It’s killing you. It’s hindering you. It’s keeping you from living the life Jesus came to bring. You might say, “But they
don’t deserve it!” Well, neither did we, but I’m really grateful God didn’t wait till we deserved it. You can’t focus on living when you’re just trying not to be pulled over the edge. So, untie the rope and release it. Release the offense. Release your pain. Release feelings of revenge and experience the freedom that comes through complete forgiveness.
Hebrews 12:15 offers us this command: “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”