Each year we do 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting at our church. This year the Pastors were asked to take 1 of the days and write a blog post on the verse/topic of the day. I thought I would post mine here to share. It’s a bit long, but give it a chance. 😉
Today is day 3 in our 21 days of prayer and fasting. I pray that God is showing you mighty things as you go through each day. The theme for today is “Deliverance from Bitterness and Rebellion” and the verse we are meditating on is Hebrews 12:15 “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.” NLT
In my life I have found few things as sneaky and damaging to my walk with Christ, and my relationship with others, as bitterness and resentment. Something as simple as a mean look or insensitive comment can cause an offense to enter our hearts and unless dealt with properly, a poisonous root begins to take hold. Hurts will happen; it’s unavoidable and out of our hands. Yet what we do with those hurts is our choice. Unforgiveness leads to bitterness and resentment, and nothing drains you like bitterness and resentment. But we don’t have to live with it. We must remember that Christ has forgiven us and we should forgive others. “You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember the Lord forgave you, so must forgive others.” (Col. 3:13) NLT
If we choose to bury a painful offense no matter how seemingly small and insignificant, instead of forgiving, it is guaranteed to grow into an ugly monster. This monster is insatiable; always looking to be fed with agreement from others. It usually sounds something like: “Have you ever noticed how unfriendly so and so is?” “Have you seen the inappropriate things she wears to church?” “They should have never hired Pastor so and so”. Going back to our verse for the day, this is the very place where this bitterness is now “corrupting many”. Our bitterness has become a stumbling block for others. How often do we participate in these conversations where someone’s bitterness is on display and instead of lovingly encouraging them toward forgiveness we participate and join in? I am sorry to say that it happens all too often in my life.
Paul would be disappointed. In this verse he is speaking to us with urgency: “Look after each other!” The mandate that Paul gives is for you and I as the body of Christ. Many times bitterness and resentment lives just under our radar: living, growing and waiting to bring death to our relationships. Paul is saying that it is our job to recognize these deadly traps and lovingly lead one another to the healing ministry of Christ.
We should remind each other that we have been forgiven so much and in return need to forgive others. Remind each other that if we want to experience God’s grace in our lives, we need to extend grace to others. (Mark 11:25). We are a team, we are not called to live separate lives, we are the Bride and in that we need to hold one another accountable.
As Pastor Brian talked about yesterday, the next three weeks is a time of laying down and sacrificing. Choosing to forgive and let go of bitterness is an act of obedience, a true sacrifice. Let us be obedient to Matthew 5:23-24,
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”
I urge you, before you go any further in your time of prayer and fasting, find reconciliation. Whether it’s to a family member, a church friend, a co-worker, maybe it’s even your spouse! Go to that person and make peace. This is the true sacrifice that God desires of us. As you do this you will see that root of bitterness dry up and die, leaving room for love, peace and victory!
Much love to you, my church family,
Pastor Kate Groeneman