How do you get rid of the weeds in your garden? With weed killer and garden tools and backbreaking work—right? The passage that speaks so well to this is Hebrews 12:15: “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.”
It is our individual responsibility to keep bitter roots from growing in our hearts. The verse says, “See to it that. . . no bitter root grows up. . .” It is a directive, a command. It is your job and mine to make sure that we weed out those bitter roots. If there are bitter roots in your heart right now, you can’t blame them on anyone else; you’ve allowed them to grow.
That means we can’t shift the blame to anyone else. As Chuck Swindoll puts it, life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we choose to respond to it. If you are responding in bitterness, that is your choice, and it’s the worst choice you could ever make.
Oh, I don’t mean that you haven’t suffered unjustly or that you don’t have a legitimate gripe. I’m not making light of the pain you’ve endured. Nor am I excusing those who are responsible. They are accountable to God for what they’ve done, so you can rest assured that with God keeping the books, they’ll have to face their sin someday.
But if you think you have a right to your bitterness, you’re shifting the blame, which allows the bitter root to grow. Every time you justify your anger and resentment toward someone, that bitter root burrows down further and further in your heart. And the bitter roots that are growing in your heart are causing you more harm than anyone else.
Do you really want to get rid of those bitter roots? Not everyone does, you know. Some people love to hang onto to their bitterness; they want to continue to wallow in self-pity and anger. But if you’re getting sick and tired of the damage that those bitter roots are causing you, you can decide to “see to it that no bitter root grows up.” You can choose to respond without bitterness.
Do you want to respond without bitterness? Really? Then talk to the Lord about it right now and ask for his strength to dig out those bitter roots from your heart.