Slaying Giants by Rocky Fleming- Day Five
by Rocky Fleming
Five Day Reading Plan
Day Five: The Bitterness Giant
“See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;” Hebrews 12:15 (ESV)
If you do not have any bitterness in you about someone or something that happened to you, be glad, and in fact, be exceedingly glad, for it is a dangerous pill to swallow. Bitterness is an emotional disease that consumes its host. I’ve seen it in the best of people. Though we may feel justified to retain bitterness against someone, the fact is it doesn’t matter to them. But it matters greatly for us, for it can become a spiritual and emotional cancer to us that will eat us up within. If you have this giant in your life you cannot afford to allow him to remain. It is imperative to you and all who you love that he be defeated. The admonition in the scripture above gives clear guidance to not allow it and as well, how to root it out. David had a smooth river stone to sling at the giant Goliath to defeat him, likewise it is true with a follower of Jesus that we have a stone to defeat our Bitterness Giant. That stone is God’s grace.
There is only one antidote for a root of bitterness. It is God’s grace to us … applied to our offender … as this grace has been given to us. I’ve seen this antidote come to save me from a root of bitterness on a couple of occasions. The offenders were clearly wrong. They had hurt me deeply, and it angered me. I wanted to get even. In my old youthful days, my pride would had required it and I would have acted out … aggressively. But as I got older I could not, nor would I act in the same manner. The problem with this method of dealing with an offensive is we often stuff it rather than resolve it, and it becomes fertile ground for a root of bitterness to grow. I’m not advocating for physical “expression” of our anger. But I will say that it made me a better football player (Joke). No, there is a better way, which I would thankfully discover.
As we mature as Christians, we will always face some kind of challenge with those who offend us. Ideally it would be great that a non-aggressive discussion about an offense can take place between Christians to keep a root of bitterness from growing in us. This is a worthy effort to make. However, even though we can make this effort, as life goes on, we will still face people who operate outside that harmony objective. They might not care at all that we’ve been offended, and that offends us more. Take it from me. If we go down a path demanding fairness or equal treatment by others based on how we treat them, we will be looking at a Bitterness Giant sooner or later. There is only one answer. The fire within us must be extinguished by God’s grace. How does that work?
Which one of us can claim that we don’t need God’s grace given to us, because we have done nothing that would offend Him? It starts there. A healthy reflection of our own shame and desperation for His forgiveness gets us deeply in touch with the necessity of God’s unconditional forgiveness that His grace gives to us. If we have any problem understanding the desperate condition we would be in if Holy God did not forgive our offenses against Him, then we do not understand the Gospel. We would likely be unwilling to graciously forgive someone, for in some way we would do so only if they deserved it. If this is the case, then we have a greater problem than a root of bitterness. We may have little love and appreciation for the sacrificial gift of Jesus Christ needed to save us, and in some cases, we may have no relationship with Him at all. That’s a much more serious problem.
Connecting God’s grace to us with its outflow from us to others, becomes the rock in our sling for taking down a Bitterness Giant. It will sooth the raging fire within us. It is the essence of what Jesus said about forgiveness, for our forgiveness of others always comes back in some way to bless us.
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15 (ESV)
With the Holy Spirit helping us, we are given every resource we need to slay the giants in our life that assail us. I’ve mentioned only a few this week. But every one of your giants can be eradicated if you will stand firm with Jesus to battle them, for He stands faithfully and firmly with His child to help us. Become the giant killer that God can make of you.