See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; (Heb. 12:15)
The Lord warns us not to allow the “root of bitterness” to spring up and cause much trouble and defilement. Our hearts and minds make up the seat of sin, and if we allow bitterness to take up residence within, we will find ourselves far from the kingdom if we never come to repentance. This is one of the reasons why gossip is so dangerous. Words spoken in secret reveal the state of one’s heart, and if the state of one’s heart is not oriented toward love of neighbor, as impenitent gossip reveals, then one does not truly love God (1 John 4:20).
A Root of Bitterness is Taking Root
The spreading of misinformation or uncertain facts about another person indicates that a root of bitterness may be slowly taking over one’s heart, inclining it away from the kingdom of heaven.
The Wise Man Safeguards His Thoughts and Actions
Wise people put up safeguards in their thoughts and actions to help keep them from being ensnared by a root of bitterness. Lest our minds lead us astray, it is wise to think on what is true, good, and beautiful so that our thoughts are not filled with curses and other unclean things (Phl. 4.8). At the same time, we should endeavor not to listen to or repeat uncertainties that we hear about others or otherwise gossip about our neighbors.
Question for Reflection
- Do you safeguard your thoughts and actions from gossip and bitterness?
Headers are mine. Content is from TableTalk Magazine Avoiding Bitterness of Mind and Speech, October 23rd, 2015