Cleansing the Soul of Bitterness [Part 1]
By — July 31, 2017
Are you ready for some good news?
The grace of God can free your soul from bitterness for good.
Today’s Text: “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal.” (Hebrews 12:15–16, ESV)
We seldom buy new cars, but years ago we bought a new mini-van. The sunroof leaked, but the van ran well for years. When the odometer hit 99,990 miles, we piled our kids and in-laws into the van and rode around the neighborhood to watch it roll over 100,000 miles. We hip-hip-hoorayed like the hordes at Times Square welcoming the New Year.
We were celebrating grace.
When we bought the new van, we were issued a 36,000-mile warranty. We were entitled to 36,000 miles of a perfectly running automobile. But after 36,000 miles, we were on our own. Anything that broke from that point on would be our responsibility. I figured that every good mile after the warranty expired was a bonus mile. Or better put, grace.
It’s essential to understand the difference between entitlement and inheritance. An inheritance is a gift, but Esau considered it an entitlement. The customs of primogeniture usually provided the firstborn with a double portion of the inheritance. But Esau, duped by his conniving brother, didn’t receive that double portion. Jacob, the liar, did.
Esau became embittered in the deepest way. He wanted to kill Jacob. That’s what a bitter root will do to your soul – it will sprout into death of some sort.
Most bitterness is born from entitlement mentalities. Entitlement thinking is a form of legalism. I pay so that you will fulfill your end of the deal. I do something for you; you do something for me. Thus, I “deserve” the reward that I get.
When I bought the mini-van, I deserved 36,000 miles of free repairs. After that, the carmaker owed me nothing. Every repair free mile after 36,000 was grace.
The best way to get rid of bitterness is to never let it take root in the first place. Remember that you don’t deserve God’s grace – His favor is unmerited and His inheritance is unearned. And that’s the Gospel!