“Look after each other so that none of you will miss out on the special favor of God. Watch out that no bitter root of unbelief rises up among you, for whenever it springs up, many are corrupted by its poison."
Every good gardener knows that you can't chop weeds. Try to go after those buggers with a weed eater, and you'll get nowhere in a hurry. You've got to rip weeds up by the roots. Otherwise, they will just keep coming back and when they do, they're bound to bring more and more of their weedy friends.
It's no accident that God uses the image of a weed to describe a particular sin that has a way of creeping into all of our hearts. . . bitterness.
Bitterness isn't one of those big, flashy sins that you can see growing above the surface of our hearts. It may not show off like anger or produce big ol' hunks of rotten fruit like disobedience. Bitterness is a sleeper sin. It grows beneath the surface, down deep in the soil of our hearts.
But the author's warning in Hebrews is clear—that bitter root will one day sprout and when it does, "many will become defiled." In other words, if that bitter root keeps growing there will be a harvest of pain for you and the people in your world. And because bitterness is a weedy sin that burrows in our hearts first, we can't just cut off the behaviors that bitterness causes.
Most people try to improve their life by looking out all their external factors. Things such as overeating, stress, sleeplessness, or bad tempers are tangible and easier to control. The truth is, there maybe a bitter root that needs pulling so that external factors will not keep popping up. You may be able to control your behavior for a while or keep a good attitude for short period of time, but you never really get free.
I had a dear friend who had issues with her children and marriage. It was enormous burden he was carrying and still is. I watched him often trying to gain control of the little aspects of his life. He became OCD on keeping things orderly because that was something that was easier to get a hold on. He also tried to control the lives of others around him. Little things that were overlooked by the average person laid heavily at his front doorstep. No one had an inkling of why he became so over stressed at the silliest of situations. The bottom line is he had little control over the central aspect of his life, his family. Any ideas of rectifying the situation fell upon deaf ears. Instead, he chose to ignore it, and become a nuisance controlling other peoples lives.
If you are easily irritated over a situations, you must go deeper. You must discover why you are angry or why you must control the stages of others lives or your own. Find out why you can't get along with people. Why you are so negative. If you look deeply and get to the root, then you'll be able to deal with the problem, overcome it, and truly begin to change.
You do not need to go back and recall all the painful memories of the past. You need to examine your heart with the following exercise. This is to be certain that you have not buried anger and unforgiveness on the inside. if you have areas in your life where you are constantly struggling, trying to change but finding yourself unable to do so, ask God to show you these bitter roots that are keeping you from being free.
This Week's Meditation:
My grievances hide the light of the world in me.
Meditate on this for several minutes a day. Allow various thoughts to come into your mind. Each time a negative thought comes, imagine that you are walking through the dark clouds of your mind. Allow the clouds to touch you, feel its presence and then move on. Imagine as you go deeper there is a great light in the middle as you past these barriers. Remind yourself of healing each moment.