See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; - Hebrews 12:15
Life is sometime metaphorically called a race. There is one specific Olympic race called the hurdles which the competitor has to overcome the collection of hurdles in his lane. So too the race of our lives presents a series of hurdles to us all - some great and some small. Nevertheless, we must effectively address them in order to win.
What is a common hurdle that we are likely to have before us is the hurdle of bitterness. It is one that many individuals get stymied by time and time again. When we try to take off to a higher plane in life, we are snared and find ourselves stumbling. Our timing is thrown off, our groove is lost, our rhythm, in need of being regained. Thank God it is possible to do but we have to let some things go.
The Bible warns us in the Book of Hebrews, chapter 12, verse 15 that we should be on guard against being defiled by a root of bitterness because it seeks to lodge in our heart. Once it lodges there, nothing good will come from it. God desires that we win the race and not be hindered by bitterness and its affects. The affects typical show in the form of: lack of trust, cynicism, judgmentalism, fear, hatred, apathy, and quite a bit more. Yes, it will rob you blind. As if that were not enough, the victim of bitterness will unintentionally aid and abet the frustrating and defeating of loved ones because of indifference, which is yet another manifestation of bitterness becoming rooted in ones heart and mind.
Interestingly, the bible verse refers to bitterness as a root. There is a root called "poison hemlock" that innocently lay interspersed among other vegetation in a field or garden. The typical location of this root offers a strong depiction of how innocently it can be encountered. The poison hemlock plants are easily found along roadsides, on the banks of streams, ditches, and canals. Easy access means easy temptation to embrace. It is a coarse herb with a smooth, purple-spotted, hollow stem and leaves, similar to parsley. So how characteristic, how sinister, of the spirit of bitterness to veil itself as something which mankind so commonly chooses or delights in. Not surprisingly, this bitter herb has a juice which the ancient Greeks used to kill Socrates. Likewise, toxic bitterness will seek and destroy the best and brightest of humanity - if allowed.
So war against this spirit from finding a resting place in your heart and mind. This is a battlefront that the Apostle Paul surely had in mind as he commanded us to fight "the good fight". Remember, bitterness is not your friend; so, if it found space in your life, reject it and evict it from the ground of your heart, and you will see a brighter day and a lighter load to run your race to victory.