Throwing Away Those Bitter Pills

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12:15 (NIV)

Lately I’ve been thinking much about how life is very short. A recent funeral of my uncle reminded me of this. His life was one that was well lived. He was a simple but hard-working man who loved his family dearly.  Several of my cousins were together, and we swapped stories of days when we were younger and the fun and laughter we experienced. “Where did the time go?” we pondered.

We often get distracted by so many things around us. We fill up our schedules. Not all the things in our schedules are bad. Sometimes we simply forget what our priorities are in life and about making a difference that will last beyond us. We live without purpose or let barriers and wounds get in the way.

Some have lived with wounds that have taken away the joy in life. Sometimes these wounds define us. Perhaps we have had broken relationships. Perhaps there are family relationships or friendships that have been estranged for years. Maybe we think that no one will accept us or that we will be judged by others and we don’t want to take any chances of being rejected. This can lead to depression, anxiety, isolation, and fear. While we are experiencing these things, however, life is ticking on. We miss opportunities all around us that can breathe life and hope into our lives. There may be many around you that are actually reaching out to you but you don’t recognize it. We can become jaded.

For others, life is about chasing after money, status, work, or fleeting relationships, and we get done with our days and wonder where they went. Some are married and are just living in the same house. It is a relationship that seems to be stale and going nowhere.

After years of these things, we can become bitter. Bitterness can be a low-level, long-term anger that we harbor in our lives. It eats on us. We have expectations that life should be different, and we feel helpless to change it. We don’t see it getting any better. We blame God.
Bitterness also can come from an unforgiving heart. The problem with this is that we only bind ourselves. We think we can manipulate or control a person that has wronged us, but it only comes back to bite us.

We need to throw away the bitter pills. It is the only way to true freedom from this life of brokenness. The bitter person is the one that is hurting the most. We need to start with the forgiveness and love of God toward us. The Bible says, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 (NIV) The sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins to pay the penalty for all of them was a great cost. When we understand and place our faith and trust in Jesus for His sacrifice on the cross, we realize God has forgiven us an infinite amount. We become grateful for His gifts of grace and forgiveness. When we give these gifts to others, we are freeing ourselves the most.

You may think, “well they don’t deserve my forgiveness! You don’t know what they have done!” The Bible is still clear: “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” This means that we will not hold sin or wrongdoing over the head of someone else. When we place our faith and trust in Jesus for what He has done for us and turn away from our sin, He no longer holds our sin against us. Even more so, we must not hold the sin of others against them and cause a bitter root in our heart. This life is too short. We need to throw away the bitter pills of pride, unmet expectations, unforgiveness, and anger. Receive the gift of forgiveness that God offers through Christ. Then you will begin to see and experience true hope, joy, love, and life. These are His gifts to replace the bitterness and give this short life purpose and meaning. Wait no longer.
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Mark Anderson