DVO April 15, 2019

Title: Coming Short of God’s Grace

Scripture: Hebrews 12:15-17 – 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; 16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

Sometimes we forget that our attitude about life effects our experience of life. The truth for some of us is that our attitude of anger, frustration, and bitterness comes more from resisting what God says and expects than the things or people we blame them on. Coming short of the grace of God is seen either by a failure to abstain from doing harm to someone or the failure to control our anger toward those that have done some harm to us. As believers, who have the divine nature of God in us, it is expected that we will yield to the influence of that nature in our dealings with one another. We all have had the experience of someone or something that has made us angry. When this anger is suppressed or not addressed in the appropriate manner, it will eventually turn into bitterness — which becomes a defiling cancerous attitude that results in internal destruction to the self or spreads external destruction and defilement to many others (Hebrews 12:15).

Bitterness is an attitude of prolonged, intense anger and animosity and is often brought on because the wronged person dwells upon the perceived offense and those they have determined are responsible. As this root of bitterness grows, they cannot keep this to themselves because they become consumed with the idea that it is right — and just to take out some forms of revenge to hurt the perceived offender. What makes a bitter person dangerous is that they spread their bitterness by seeking sympathy to enlist others into their feelings. They hold deeply rooted grudges and are characterized by cynicism, resentment, defamation, and seek subtle ways to express their hostility to get even. In context, Ephesians 4:30 and 31 list bitterness and wrath among the sinful attitudes that grieve the Holy Spirit, because they cause us to refuse to forgive others as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven us all that have believed on Him. We are told by God that, “bitter envy and selfish ambition do not come down from heaven, but are earthly, unspiritual, of the devil” (James 3:14-15). Because bitterness forms a root in a person, it becomes part of them; and it deceptively destroys the heart as long as it is a treasured stronghold in the heart.

Hebrews 12 refers to Esau in the context of this matter of bitterness and failing the grace of God. Esau’s anger became hatred and bitterness because he lost the blessing and the birthright to Jacob. He vowed to kill Jacob when their father Isaac died, but this meant that he had to hold his anger for years and it became bitterness. He reveals to us that bitterness can cause us to be blind to our own sinful state and the mindset of hate that we justify within ourselves. The bitterness and resentment that he had toward his brother Jacob became the origin and defining hatred of the Edomites toward Israel for many centuries until their destruction from the judgment of God. It reveals the truth that bitterness unchecked at its root will rise up and defile many (Hebrews 12:15b).
The Bible condemns revenge and getting even. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, Paul states in Romans 12:17. “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘it is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19). When we find ourselves tormented by the bitterness and anguish caused by others to us, let us remember that God gives grace that provides forgiveness, healing and deliverance from this debilitating condition. Do not let what others have done to you cause there to be a block in your fellowship with God and be the reason for your own self destruction.

Prayer: Father, please make our hearts to be like Jesus’ toward those that have caused us pain. Forgive us please for any measure of revenge that has seated itself in our minds and has caused us to sin against You (I Peter 2:21-23). Heal us we pray of any resentment that has overruled the obligation to love even our enemies, in Jesus name, amen.

(by Pastor Wayne Cockrell)

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