You know if there is bitterness in your heart. We often believe that bitterness is something that has grown for a time inside us, and is only a problem when we are troubled. Heb. 12:15. This verse is probably the most often used verse to address bitterness. We are going to look at the context of the verse and see if there are some things we can do in our lives to avoid becoming bitter. The context of this chapter is the chastening of the Lord, and how we are chastened because we are His children. I don’t know about you but I generally don’t like to be chastened, corrected, rebuked, or admonished in any way. Verse 11 even states that it is not joyous. Any time we believe that we have been treated wrong we can start the process of becoming bitter. That is why in verse 15 we are warned to not become bitter and some of the results of the process.
Some things that we can glean from Verse 15:
- Bitterness starts out small, here it shows up as a root. I believe this root started with a very tiny seed. We all can see from the examples around us that trees, crops, etc. all have roots that are unseen. Bitterness starts inside you, unseen, and long before it can establish roots. Each time you are disappointed in life you have the potential to become bitter.
- After you develop a root, it springs up and troubles you. At this point you have a real problem that must be dealt with, because it only gets worse from that point on.
- Next in the progression it starts to affect others, your friends, family, co-workers, etc.
So, let’s look at the passage to see how to hopefully prevent this root of bitterness:
- Verse 14, Follow peace with all men
- 14:19, have the mindset to edify others instead of fight with others
- 12:18, if it be possible
- 1 Tim.2:1-2, If we seek to live that peaceable life, we are less likely to be offended enough to plant a seed of bitterness.
- Verse 14, Follow holiness
- 6:19, We must yield ourselves to be servants of righteousness and holiness
- 2 Cor. 7:1, We must cleanse ourselves, perfecting holiness
- 1 Thes. 4:7, We are called to be holy
- 1 Thes. 3:13, We will be judged at the coming of the Lord. If we seek to live a holy life we will be less likely to be offended enough to plant a seed of bitterness
- Verse 15. Don’t fail of the grace of God
- 2:8, Don’t ever forget that you were save by God’s grace, something none of deserve.
- 4:32, We are to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving, just as God has been with you, and you didn’t deserve it, it was God’s grace.
- 3:13, Paul adds Forbearance, wow. You should rejoice daily for God’s forbearance in your life. It should be very hard to become bitter when you remember how God’s grace has affected you. Paul says, “so also do ye”.