Somebody's Got to Move
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Closing. That's what they call the day that you sign all the final papers to buy your home. I remember it well. It was a long time ago, but, I know that you're finally allowed to start moving in after your closing. You see, we sat with the previous owner in the attorney's office and I got to write enough checks to wallpaper at least one wall! Now, they wouldn't let us move anything in until closing day. That's the law. It was still the home of the previous owner until that day. But as soon as we left that office the truck could roll, and it did. And all our stuff could get moved in. This all has to be carefully timed. One family has to be out before another family can move in, right? Sure! What if we had rolled up with our truck and the previous owners were still there? We can't both live there! One has to move out before the other one can move in.
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Hebrews 12:15. God is showing us here that there are two things that can't live in the same house at the same time. Well, actually, in the same heart. There's no way they can co-exist. Here's what it says, "See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." Now, with the stress you have you sure don't want to miss God's grace; you don't want to miss His sustaining love. But this says you can, you can miss God's grace! How do you do that? Well, by having this other guy living in your heart. It talks about having "no bitter root." If bitterness is living in your heart, grace cannot move in. One or the other has to go.
Could it be that part of your stress and part of your struggle is that poisonous root of bitterness in your heart? I mean, maybe you've been hurt, rejected, abused, maybe disappointed, and there's a growing resentment in your heart. Notice growing. It says the bitter root grows. Bitterness and anger never stand still. They keep growing, they start to "defile many," to spill over into our other close relationships.
Just last week a mother told me about how she'd been hurt some years before and how her heart, she said, had grown hard. She said, "Now my hard heart is affecting my husband, my children." You see, it was bitterness that turned it hard. The irony is that a grudge actually chains you emotionally to the person you dislike. "I don't like so and so, so I'll think about her a lot." That's what happens! Unforgiveness is like this emotional cancer and it eats you up inside. It may be costing you God's sustaining grace. They can't live in the same house at the same time!
Isn't it time to release that bitterness? Hasn't it done enough damage? It isn't hurting the person you're bitter toward. It's hurting you, and probably others you love. Bitterness can only be moved out by something called forgiveness. Going to the great Forgiver, the One who said of those who had just nailed Him to a cross, "Father forgive them," and you say to Him, "Lord give me the grace to release this person, to forgive them, to release them to You. Not to excuse them, but to choose to treat them not as they treated me, but as you've treated me, Jesus.
In the words of Colossians 3:13, "Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Forgiving is the beginning of healing the damage of the past. There's a truck full of God's grace pulled up in front. He's waiting to move that grace into your heart and your life as soon as the bitterness moves out!
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