Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Hebrews 12:15
There are a number of translations that are good about this verse. We’ve all been taught how we have sinned and come short of His glory. Which He actually wants to restore, by the way, another post, but who has ever heard this taught, or was I just the only one missing this?
I used to memorize a lot of verses, sometimes a whole chapter. But then somehow the cares of the world wrestles it out of you. I did read a lot, but without the Holy Spirit’s leading I never fully understood Scripture. I’m sure a lot of people may not.
We think of falling from grace as some scandalous affair rocking a ministry or a finacial debaucle, or some celebrity downfall. But in truth, it reads that we have all probably fallen from grace at one point or another, not that God has just given up on you, no, not that.
It’s just that we have not taken care of each other, or taken care that we, ourselves have not fallen into the trap of believing an enemy lie, and letting roots of bitterness take hold. It may start off easily enough, an unkind word, a perceived slight, something the pastor said that you disagreed with.
Maybe you didn’t get an invitation, the job you thought was yours or you begin the blame game, about whose fault it is. We should take responsibility, and own up to God and our own souls, before families are destroyed, friendships ruined, churches ripped apart. What the devil can divide, he can dominate. And he will, ” Give him and inch and he is your ruler. ” the church sign read. And it’s true.
We have to take care not to offend or be offended. Bitterness is just like a weed, it can be a small seedling, that if not uprooted becomes a weed. It is like our southern kudzu vines, resilient, hard to kill, it will take over. I have seen in overtake fences and choke the sweetsmelling honeysuckles. Let’s not let the bitterness choke out the aroma of Christ.
We don’t want that in our hearts as we guard and garden them. We don’t need bitter rivalries or bitter enemies, or bitter tastes in or mouths from bitter words. The Israelites ate bitter herbs at Passover to commemorate their time in captivity, a bitter memory was now a distant one as the entered the promised land.
We too must enter our land of milk and honey and learn to speak words that are full of salt and grace. Words filled with the love of Jesus, not fakery or flattery but the truth, the love and beauty that is Jesus.
So grace is not some state that we fall from never to get back to, it is something that we must receive on a daily basis, grace upon grace, day after day, we will win the victory over a bitter enemy, the wicked one will not come near. Rebecca Jones / public domain