The poisonous root of bitterness

By Dave Henning / December 18, 2013

“See to it that on one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” -Hebrews 12: 15

Commenting on this passage in Hebrews, author Stephen Mansfield notes in Chapter 5 of Healing Your Church Hurt that the word “bitter” comes from the Greek word pikros– meaning to “cut or prick”, “pointed or sharp . . . pungent”.  The Greek word for “defile” is miano, meaning “to stain or dye with a color”.  In other words, Hebrews is telling us that we can’t allow the poison of bitterness to infect us.

To avoid this, Stephen states that we need to ask ourselves what bait the devil uses to trap us.  What immediately wounds us, angers us, fills us with hate, or makes us want to lash out at another?  Once we’ve identified Satan’s specific bait(s) of choice, we can begin to simply avoid them.  But we always will be tempted, because Satan’s desire is to shape our lives with woundedness and offense so that he can keep us from living lives defined by God’s purposes.

Satan wants to take us captive so he can use us to damage others.  Stephen adds that “the devil wants to call you into his ministry, and he uses the strife and bitterness that is working through your soul when you are offended.”

Today’s question:  What role has bitterness played in the aftermath of your ministry downsizing or vocation loss?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “You’ve really got a hold on me!”

About the author

Dave Henning

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