Uprooting Destructive Emotions From Your Life
For many of us, the summer months are a time when we rest after a busy school year. We might go on a vacation or simply pull aside from the busyness of life so we can be refreshed.
As you make time to rest this summer, I want to encourage you to really think about what might be cluttering and “over-busying” your heart and soul, and causing you anxiety and unrest. Anxiety and failing to walk in the peace of God could hinder you from walking in His best blessings. In particular, I want you to look at the possibility of hidden roots of bitterness that may have found lodgment in your soul — roots that will grow if left unchecked and produce a very bad harvest if you don’t uproot them and stop them in their tracks.
At some time or another in life, we all deal with hurt caused by others, whether the pain was inflicted deliberately or just out of selfishness and a lack of consideration. Some of the wounds caused by the actions of others can be very deep. But where do we go from there? From the time we’re hurt by someone, we must make certain decisions about the way we will respond. If we respond correctly, according to God’s Word, we’ll be in a position to receive healing and to move forward blessed by the Lord. If we respond incorrectly, we will prolong the healing of our mind and emotions. We will remain stuck in that condition, “toxic” and unable to move ahead in the plan of God until we change our attitude and response.
I want to encourage you that if you find yourself constantly saying something derogatory about someone else, pay close attention to what is happening! What you’re saying about that person is a telltale sign that some bad seed is trying to take root in your heart.
Hebrews 12:15 says, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the writer of this verse tells us how to recognize this bad seed in our lives. It says, “…lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you….”
First, the words “springing up” are from the Greek word phuoo. This word depicts a little plant that is just starting to sprout and grow. It’s a small seedling that is just beginning to peek out through the soil. However, the very fact that it’s peeking through the ground and becoming manifest, or apparent, means there was a seed hidden in that soil with which this new life was produced.
This is a very significant picture. It tells us that bitterness doesn’t overwhelm us all at once, shouting, “I’m here!” Instead, it grows a little here and a little there until it finally becomes a huge, ugly growth that defiles our entire lives — and even the lives of others.
Bitterness usually starts peeking up out of the depths of our souls in the form of negative thoughts about another person or a sour, sharp, distrusting, cynical attitude toward someone who has offended us. If the root is not quickly uprooted and removed, that bitterness will eventually become a full-blown tree that produces bitter, wounding, hurtful, and scornful fruit for everyone who eats of it.
Hebrews 12:15 shouts the warning, “If you don’t stop these bitter thoughts and attitudes, they will eventually trouble you!”
The word “trouble” is from the Greek word enochleo, which means to trouble, to harass, or to annoy. It refers to something inside that bothers and upsets you so much, you are constantly pestered by thoughts about it. In fact, your whole life is stalked by these hassling, troubling thoughts. What you allowed to take root and to fester inside your soul has now become a major nuisance to your peace, keeping you upset and emotionally torn up all the time.
Let me ask you:
- Do you have a grudge against someone that “gnaws” at you all the time?
- Every time you see that offending person, do you feel something sharp and ugly inside?
- When you hear about that person being blessed, do you wonder how God could possibly bless him when he did such an ugly thing to you?
- Do negative thoughts like these pester and bother you almost constantly?
If you relate to the questions I just asked you, it may mean that a root of bitterness is growing inside you — and bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness are starting to hound and stalk you everywhere you go!
These bitter roots are not just annoying — they are very dangerous. They will get a vice-like grip on your soul and hinder you from receiving God’s grace, blessings, and favor. So if what I’ve said so far describes you, you need to get a grip on yourself and let the Holy Spirit help you permanently rid yourself of these thoughts and attitudes. Otherwise, you’ll end up troubled, annoyed, and upset. You’ll lose your peace, forfeit your joy, and toss aside your victory. Friend, you don’t want to take that path! It’s too painful and hurtful, and it will cost you too much in your walk with God.
If you find yourself constantly saying something derogatory about someone else, pay attention to that because it’s a telltale sign that some bad seed is trying to take root in your heart that could potentially grow into a major issue that affects every area of your life. Don’t let that happen! Ask the Holy Spirit to help you jerk out those roots from the soil of your heart so you can walk free and stay free!
The Holy Spirit is willing and ready to help you grab hold of those roots of bitterness and pull them out of your life. All He needs is your invitation, so why don’t you go ahead and ask Him to assist you right now? He stands ready to assist at the sound of your voice. If you need help, you can pray the following prayer from your heart and expect the Holy Spirit’s help in your life over bitterness and its debilitating effects:
Lord, I ask You to please forgive me for allowing negative thoughts about others to consume me. Even though I don’t like what they did to me, I have no right before You to be bitter and resentful. I realize now that I am acting ugly inwardly, just as they acted outwardly. In Your eyes, I have sinned and fallen short too. I am truly sorry for allowing these attitudes to grow inside me and hinder me from your best for my life. To the best of my ability, I turn right now from the wrong thoughts that have been consuming me, and I choose instead to speak well of those who have offended or hurt me. Holy Spirit, help me uproot those wrong feelings from my heart and replace them with love and forgiveness instead. In Jesus’ name, amen.
How can Denise and I and our team specifically pray for you this month? We really do count it as a high honor to stand in faith with you for the answers you seek. Please contact a member of our prayer team — we stand ready to add our faith to yours, expecting a great outcome!
We love you and thank God for you!
We are your brother and sister, friends, and partners in Jesus Christ,
Rick and Denise Renner
along with Paul, Philip, and Joel and their families