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May 4, 2020

Are You Being Choked?

“See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble.” (Hebrews 12:15)

Bitterness is the inability to forgive someone for the wrong they have done against you. We might say we forgive them with our lips, but there can still be bitterness in our hearts. This is dangerous, because bitterness in our life is like a weed that will choke and hinder our spiritual growth. So how do we dig up root of bitterness? It’s popular to say that we need to “forgive and forget.” But how do you forgive when you can’t forget? Or even harder, how can you forgive when someone has never asked for your forgiveness? 

This is why the author of Hebrews starts by saying that we need to “see to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God.” Now “obtain” does not mean that we have to earn God’s grace. God’s grace by definition is something that cannot be earned! Obtain is being used here in the sense of reaching a goal, or crossing the finish line. What the author of Hebrews is telling us is that when we stop trying to earn God’s love and cross the finish line of accepting that God’s love is freely given in Jesus, then we are ready to dig up the root of bitterness in our lives. 

In short, we are able to truly forgive others only when we realize how God has forgiven us by His grace. Forgiveness requires grace. We don’t forgive by “forgetting”, nor by waiting for someone to come and say they are sorry. We forgive by remembering the grace of God given to us in Jesus. We forgive by remembering that instead of God holding our sins against us, our sins were held against Christ on the cross. The more we realize the grace in Christ, the less we will be able to hold people’s wrongs against them.

Question: Is there any root of bitterness in your life?

Challenge: Confess your bitterness to Jesus and resolve in your heart to work through it with His help. Don’t be content to let a root of bitterness remain!

Prayer: God, show me more of your grace so that I can be more gracious to others.

Jeff Boettcher, Chapel Leader -- Philadelphia Phillies

Baseball Chapel
P.O. Box 10102
Largo, FL 33773

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