When you think of a bitter root, what comes to mind?
I imagine an unhealthy growth that begins to take over. I think of an oak tree that was planted to close to underground water pipes. Have you ever seen this on "This Old House" where they have to tear up the tree and get the roots that have overtaken pipes that help the house function? It's quite a large, expensive job!
In the Church we have far too many Christians living with bitter roots, caused by rejection, fear, slander, gossip, unmet expectations, and other unpleasant events. They walk in this pain daily and it effects every relationship they have.
Here's what the writer of Hebrews says in chapter 12:
14Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
The only way to be free of a bitter root is to pursue peace and not miss the grace given to us. When we realize the grace that has been given to us, our only reaction should be to extend grace to those around us. Which would cause us to have peace with those we are in relationships with.
How I long for my own life to be free of any bitterness. To know that I am walking in grace and therefore I must make an effort to live at peace with everyone. Not only will I be free of bitterness, but as verse 14 says, I'll be holy and see the Lord! What an amazing promise!