“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”

Psalm 5:3

Bindweeds and Bitterness

(Please read Hebrews 12:15)

June 1

If you’ve been in a garden store lately, you probably noticed several products with weed-killing capabilities. Among the weeds most detested by farmers and gardeners alike is the bindweed, a tough plant that requires a lot of killing. Don’t expect a bindweed to give up just because you’ve cut it off at ground level; it’s better, instead, to pull that thing out by the roots.

The writer of Hebrews had a more noxious and dangerous weed in mind when he warned, in our text, against letting a “root of bitterness” spring up. In these few words he conveyed the vile nature of this figurative weed, the speed with which it can appear, and the widespread and evil effect it can have.

Bitterness is just as ugly as its name. It involves resentment, malice and even hatred. It carries grudges and provokes evil words. It twists the truth and distorts the viewpoint. The bitter person can always find an alibi for himself and criticism for someone else. And the bitter life cannot produce the sweet fragrance that God expects of his people. No wonder Paul told the Ephesians (and us) to put it away (see Ephesians 4:31).

Like fields and gardens, a life cannot be cleared of its weeds in a single day. But some progress can be made every day. If we tend our lives as diligently as we take care of our gardens and flower beds, we can gradually destroy the bitter roots and produce fruits of a better kind.

Better still, let’s live so carefully that such a thing can never take hold in our hearts.


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