The Bible calls bitterness a root (Hebrews 12:15).
I'm thinking, if we aren't careful, bitterness will become the whole tree.
It starts as a seed of resentment.
Something we just can't let go.
An expectation that wasn't met.
A circumstance that can't be controlled.
A loss that seems unfair.
An overwhelming disappointment.
A hurt that leaves one wounded.
A seed of resentment can be very small.
But it can become very powerful.
All it needs is to be buried, and to be held onto tightly.
We think that we can keep the seed of resentment from growing.
And when we realize that we can't, and that it has turned into a root of bitterness, we convince ourselves that we can surely keep it hidden.
We think that no one will ever know the ugliness that is growing inside of us.
But we can't keep the ugliness hidden.
The roots of the trees that stand on the bayou shore are exposed.
They had no control over the waves that washed their covering away.
They weren't uncovered by a series of storms but by the day to day events of high tides, winds, and wakes from traveling boats.
And I know what that's like.
To have the ugliness in me exposed by the everyday of life.
I never see it coming.
I don't see how, in the "underneath," the roots have spread and reached out to touched the people in my life.
I don't see, in their being buried, how ugly and dark and nasty they have become.
I am shocked to see how time has made them grow into a gnarly twisted mess.
Some of the roots started as just "a little slight."
Just "a little disappointment."
And some roots started as a life-crushing event.
An event that crushed me into a million little pieces.
But either way, the ugly mess in me started as a seed.
A seed that was held onto and buried, instead of giving it up to God.
My ugliness exposed makes me feel embarrassed, ashamed, and scared.
Scared that the ugliness will stay.
That it will continue to grow.
Life is going to hurt. There are going to be disappointments. And for many there will be life-crushing moments that only God's Grace will bring one through.
But we can fight resentment and bitterness.
We can fight them with gratitude.
God must have known that our hearts could become fertile ground for the roots of bitterness, so He commanded us to give thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
He knew that we could not be grateful and bitter at the same time.
Gratitude changes our perception.
It gives us "eyes" to see.
Gratitude allows us to see God's hand, His working, and His goodness in everything.
It doesn't take away the pain. I wish it could.
But gratitude takes our focus off the hurt and turns it toward the Mercy and Grace of God.
Gratitude is a choice.
But when the ugly twisted roots growing inside of us are exposed, and we see the damage that they have done to the people that we love, the choice is not a difficult one.
The choice is between humbling ourselves and letting go of the hurt, or holding on to it and letting it become your whole life.
Yes. The Bible calls bitterness a root. But I'm thinking if we aren't careful, it can become the whole tree.
"I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and will call upon the name of the LORD!"