Hebrews 12:14 & 15 – “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”

Being set apart for God and allowing bitterness in our lives cannot co-exist.

There are lots of things in this world that don’t work out in ways that we think are “good”. Situations of conflict and hurt arise. These are the tantalizing temptations for a poison called bitterness.

This poison is so potent in its ability to harm our life with God that we are admonished to not even let a root of bitterness survive. If bitterness is allowed to grow it will afflict not only our lives but will spread – distressing and corrupting many others.

Think about our children, friends, church members, and co-workers; people who walk near us daily. If we entertain that bitter root against a person or situation, we are exposing those who walk in proximity to our lives to a poison that can become an epidemic.

We are told not to allow a bitter root, so clearly we hold the responsibility to excise this poison … but how?

Just as walking in love requires active involvement about what we say and how we act, so does chopping out the root of bitterness. In conversation we don’t speak in bitterness or malice against another person. We behave in ways that acknowledge God’s grace. We receive the peace Jesus promised and we live in peace with others. We cut bitterness out completely.

Precautions against exposure to contagious illnesses or toxic materials abound in the news media, written materials and posters. We read, we listen, and we pay attention to what protects our physical health and the health of those we love.

Should we not be concerned with taking precautions against exposing ourselves and our loved ones to spiritual poison? Our spiritual life is much more important than our physical health.

Life will have its tough moments – temptations to be bitter abound … but with them God has provided the way of escape. Let’s keep ourselves and our loved ones safe from poison … See to it that no bitter root is allowed to grow up … live in peace… don’t miss God’s grace.