Yesterday I wrote about a root of bitterness, and how it will not only affect the person with bitterness, but it will potentially affect the people they influence. The scripture I used to base this on is Hebrews 12:15
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.
Notice that in the same verse where bitterness is written about, he also mentions the grace of God. I believe this is intentional because of the danger in bitterness and the power of God’s grace. We know that bitterness stems from a severe offense that causes someone a lot of pain and sometimes suffering, especially emotionally. We need not pretend that it is easily defended. If someone has hurt you on purpose, I can promise you, becoming bitter is a natural reaction. Not only that, but when tough times become a pattern in your life, and you don’t have answers to the questions; it’s very easy to get bitter.
The reason I love the fact that God’s grace is mentioned in the same verse where we find a root of bitterness is because I know what grace means. I could write several pages on the grace of God but let me just explain it like this. Yes, it is the unmerited favor of God, but to truly understand, even more, you have to look at all the places where it is mentioned. One particular instance is in 2 Corinthians chapter twelve when Paul asks the Lord to remove a thorn in his flesh. Listen to how He responds to Paul’s request.
8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
No one really knows what Paul’s thorn in his flesh was, but that’s not what I want to talk about. Whatever it was, he couldn’t deal with it any longer, and he needed help. Paul had gone as far as he could go, then God stepped in. When the Lord said, “MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU” He was letting him know, my grace will finish where you’re falling short. Just when the thorn was about to get the best of Paul, God’s grace took over and gave him victory.
I know the grace of God saves us, but it also keeps us. It not only saved us from our sinful past, but it also keeps us from things in the present that is too much for us to handle. Yes, things like bitterness that we cannot conquer within ourselves. The battle of bitterness can only be won through the grace of God. You have to be like Paul and do everything you can, but when you’ve reached your limit, let grace finish what you can’t.
You may feel like you’re losing a battle with bitterness, and the truth is, you probably are. But know this, when you’ve done everything you can, and you’ve fought until you’re out a strength, the battle isn’t over, it’s just time for grace to step in and make up the difference. It’s just like our salvation. No matter how many good deeds we perform, we could never attain righteousness on our own, but only God’s grace can save us. You’ll come short in every battle, and your suppose to, so you’ll always know you need His grace to take over in your weakness.
For those of you who are struggling with bitterness, let me encourage you to do everything you can, then give the rest to grace.