At a friend’s invitation, we signed up to play a short season of flag football. Our games are at night, under the big, bright lights. But for the first couple of games, my son, who can catch, throw, and run, was spending a lot of time on the bench. I forgot about my calling to be Jesus with skin on.
I went over to the coach and asked privately, “Why is Arlie still on the bench?” My input didn’t help anything. Not a single throw. Not a hand-off. Nothing. All game.
I felt the bitterness rise. I wanted to grab my kid and leave. I wanted to make the coach look awful – show how he didn’t care for the kids. I wanted to make him look like a failure. That was the brief conversation going on in my head. But I stayed for the duration, smiled, and went home. When I told Wendy afterward, she said, “Oh, you were one of those dads.”
Bitterness is a bundle of emotions like anger, disappointment, hatred, and fear from an insult, injury, or emotional wound. Wounded people end up wounding others. The cycle of bitterness grows and grows.
Hebrews 12:15 says, “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.”
“Defiled” is a strong word. In the original language of the New Testament, it can also be translated, “stained or polluted.” If the well of your life is bitter, everyone who stops by for a quick drink gets contaminated. It’s in the water.
I love the verse above because it gives us two options. We don’t have to live with the poisonous root. Instead, we can obtain the grace of God. You can begin again. More than saving grace, this is daily grace for daily needs. God’s favor, supernatural assistance, and blessing can mend the broken places of your heart so you can finish the race. Let go of bitterness today. Choose total forgiveness. I believe God will plant in your soul a life-giving root of joy.