Choose Grace, Not Bitterness
By Rick Warren
“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).
If you’re still holding on to resentment, then someone is controlling you. Have you ever said, “You make me so mad”? What you’re admitting at that point is, “You are controlling me.” The only way you get this person out of your mind and heart is to heal it with grace — God’s grace.
Hebrews 12:15 says, “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” (NIV).
Have you ever known a family where a bitter mom poisoned the whole family? Have you ever known a family where a bitter dad poisoned the whole family? Bitterness is contagious, and it can actually become generational. Somebody has to break the chain, and it better be you. If your parents are bitter because their parents were bitter because their parents were bitter, you’re going to have to break the chain. And there’s only one way to break it: Heal it with grace.
Friends, if you don’t get God’s grace in your life, life will make you bitter. Because life isn’t fair. Why? Because sin is in the world. We live on a broken planet. This is not Heaven. Evil people get away with evil things all the time. Life is not fair.
And if you don’t get grace in your heart, it’s going to make you bitter.
Is forgiveness fair? Absolutely not.
But it is not about fairness. It is not about justice. It’s about grace. You don’t forgive a person because it’s the fair thing to do. You forgive a person because it’s the right thing to do, and you don’t want your heart full of poison. You don’t want your heart holding on to the hurt and the hate.
Forgiveness is free, but it is not cheap. It cost Jesus his life. It cost God his Son. And as Jesus was dying on the cross, with his arms outstretched and the blood dripping down, he said, “Father, forgive them! They don’t know what they’re doing.” He was saying, “I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.” He was saying, “They don’t deserve it. They don’t even know what they’re doing. But Father, forgive them.”
Leave justice to God. Heal your bitterness with his grace.
Talk It Over
- Have you experienced bitterness toward someone? What has been the result in your life?
- Why do you think it’s so important to us that everything is fair?
- Who can you show grace to today, especially in situations that don’t seem fair?
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This devotional © 2016 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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