Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bitterness, the Wire Grass in our Life

A cheap way to have a yard with a plush carpet of grass is to plant a garden in the space reserved for the yard. Do nothing else. When the garden is ready to harvest, pull up the plants, mow what is left and you will have a great stand of grass. In fact, you may have grass my grandfather called wire grass. This grass was tenacious. It refused to die. He dug it up and threw it on the asphalt with its roots in the air, denying it any chance for water or soil. If he failed to get every bit of root, the grass came back as strong as ever in a matter of days.

Wire grass reminds me of bitterness. When bitterness takes root in someone’s life, it can take over. Just as wire grass can ruin a beautiful garden, bitterness can ruin a beautiful life. The focus of the bitterness becomes the driving force behind everything the individual does. Wire grass engulfs the vegetation in a garden causing the produce to bear less than its potential. In the same manner, bitterness extends its long tentacles throughout one’s life, preventing an individual from reaching full potential.

The damage from bitterness is not limited to the person who harbors it. It affects the lives of everyone the individual encounters. It can destroy peaceful relationships in a family, at a work place, in a church, on an athletic team, or in any group of people who are in regular contact with each other. The writer of Hebrews warned against this danger when he wrote, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled” (Hebrews 12:15.

Some people attempt to bury their bitterness deep in their subconscious. That is like covering wire grass with dirt. For a time, it will look fine, but it will eventually surface and continue its destruction.

Dealing with the source of bitterness is a process. The process begins when we are willing recognize the problem. It is completed when our bitterness is replaced by God’s love. Paul gives us the process in Ephesians 4:31, 32: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”

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