If you ask someone if they are bitter, they will usually reply with saying they are not an angry or hateful person. Anger and hate are not the same as bitterness. Bitterness is not always seen on the outside. It is not often seen by others.

Hebrews 12:15
New International Version (NIV)

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.

This verse mentions the ‘root of bitterness’. To fully understand this we must look at what a root is. A root is a source under the surface. Though rarely seen, roots provide for what is on the surface. Look at a plant. A plant’s root system absorbs and provides nutrients for the leaves and other parts that are above the surface. It is the same way with bitterness. This fuels things on the surface so they can grow. Those on the surface include anger, hate, ill feelings, and other negative thoughts and actions toward others.

Many people who are bitter may appear fine on the surface. Like this verse says, it is a root. We know what roots do. They hide under the surface and feed everything on top. If not taken care of, bitterness will continue to grow until anger, hate, and more will result from it.

Whether visible on the surface or not, we can all find the root of bitterness and remove it. No matter what may happen to us, we should forgive the person who has harmed us.

Colossians 3:13
New International Version (NIV)

13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Ephesians 4:32
New International Version (NIV)

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

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