Theme of the Week: Forgiveness is Freedom
Bible Verse: 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. Hebrews 12:15
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 12:14-15
We recently bought a house. It needed some work, including some attention to the back yard. There are several big trees behind the house which provide great (and needed) shade in the summer and beautiful leaves in the fall. Unfortunately, the root systems of those trees were taking over the yard. They were starting to rise above the ground making it impossible to mow. I couldn’t just kick them out of the way like a ball that got left in the yard.
The writer of the book of Hebrews talks about bitter roots that can take over your heart and cause a lot of problems.
Have you experienced bitterness? I have. I have been treated terribly and the perpetrator of the pain was not interested at all in making things right. I was filled with bitterness and it was eating away at me.
Popular columnist, Ann Landers once wrote, “Hanging onto resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head.”
The offense happened once but hanging onto bitterness made me suffer as though the offense kept occurring. I needed to be set free. The only pathway to freedom was forgiveness. I needed to let it go. I needed to release the person from their debt to me.
I discovered something worrying, though. I didn’t have the ability to get rid of the bitterness. Just like I couldn’t kick the roots aside in my yard, I couldn’t just dismiss the roots of bitterness in my heart. I needed help from the master gardener. I needed Jesus.
He faithfully came along and aided me in getting rid of the bitterness. When we do this, it might feel like the offender gets away with something, and maybe they do. The bottom line, though, was that I got relief. That offense no longer echoed in me. It was done. The pain had stopped. I had been set free.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, please help me with my feelings of bitterness. Some of those roots go down deep; they’ve been growing for years. I can’t get rid of them on my own. I need You to dig down, expose the roots, and tear them away. Please do what only You can do. I need to be set free. I am tired of reliving the same old offense over and over again. I know this means that I need to forgive and You are the greatest forgiver there ever was. Please help me forgive. Thank you for the life You have for me. Thank you for the freedom and joy that You promised would come as I forgave. I trust You with my pain. Amen.
Reflection: Do you want to be set free from the bondage of bitterness? What keeps you holding on to bitterness? Ask Jesus to help you let go of any bitterness you are holding.
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