Unfortunately, we are living in a culture in which many men have been on the receiving or giving end of egregious intentional wrong-doing. Many men have been living through years of painful relationships that have damaged their ability to engage in peaceful and fruitful relationships. These circumstances may result in an attitude of unforgiveness, which can spiral down into bitterness. Bitterness blows out the candle of peace and joy in a soul, leaving it empty.
The root of bitterness is a subtle enemy because it has the appearance, like unforgiveness, of being a justifiable response. More often than not it is the result of unforgiveness, and the truth is that bitterness cannot exist in a forgiving heart. Left unchecked it can carve a swarth of pain through many lives and relationships.
The primary function of a root is to act as an anchor. It digs deep and develops phenomenal strength and tenacity. Think of a tree and the strength and power its roots have to keep them stable. The root of bitterness in a man’s life does the same thing; it anchors a man to the negative situation that generated the root in the first place, and it is difficult to move on from that. In addition, a root is a primary point of supply for all the needs of the tree: water and nutrients. The root of bitterness does the same. It continually feeds a man with negative, bitter emotions, thus defiling him by tainting what is within. A man will end up feeding on their bitterness, and the more he does, the more bitterness is generated.
The writer of Hebrews said “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled” (Heb 12: 14-15).
How to eradicate bitterness from our lives? The first step is honest confession and repentance. A man will never be free of bitterness if they do not come to God and acknowledge their sin. As it is so closely aligned with unforgiveness a man will often need to address that as well. Then the root must be completely cut and severed so that no small part remains. To do this requires the humility and willingness to allow God to work in this area of our lives. A person must choose to obey the commands of our Lord and turn away from the bitterness that has taken root.
Grace is the answer to, and the only way to free a man fully from the root of bitterness. It is God’s grace that gives one the wisdom to recognize a bitter root and that strengthens and enables a man to confess and repent. Then grace works in us to receive forgiveness and to be re-rooted in Christ. As we connect with Jesus, His life begins to flow through us and will wash away the poison that was absorbed through the root of bitterness.
The only way to avoid a root of bitterness is to be intimately connected to the Living Vine. Fortunately, grace is a gift from our Lord, our Living Vine, which enables us to do things that we cannot do in our strength and ability. By walking with Him daily, a man will absorb nourishment that produces wisdom, discernment, strength, forgiveness, and humility.
True North Ministries is a group of men committed to walking with men through the challenges and difficulties of life. We bring men into our community, help them uncover their true identity in God, take ownership of their God-given purpose, and live their lives with clarity and vision, in peace. If you or someone you know is a captive to bitterness, come to ManCamp, meet our community, and begin to experience wholeness.
– Dale Maudru