When I was a kid, I sometimes was given the chore of weeding in the yard. As a young kid, I learned that there are some pretty easy shortcuts you can take when weeding. Just grab the tops of the weeds, pull off the leaves, and it looks like you’re all done … until next week, when the weed has grown back stronger than ever. My mom taught me how to use a weeding tool to dig out the roots. And the most amazing thing happens when you pull a weed out with its roots – it doesn’t grow back.
The writer to the Hebrews has some great advice for us weekend gardeners, “looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled” (Hebrews 12:15).
The bitterness that results from not forgiving others is one of the hardest things to deal with in my heart. Sometimes I tell myself that the thing they did to me was just too painful for me to simply “let it go”. If I let it go, they are going to get away with it. Yet as I cultivate that bitterness, the scraggly leaves of a new weed appear in my life. I might think that I’m the only one suffering from bitterness, but the truth is that everyone around me suffers as well. When you don’t forgive your spouse, your kids will pay for it. Not directly, mind you, but they will pay. You are so caught up in your bitterness that you won’t even see it. Do yourself a favor. Do those around you a favor. Forgive. Take it out by the root. Let it go.