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Bitter Roots
Scripture: Hebrews 12:14-15; Matthew 7:16-18; Ephes...
Track 6 of 12 in the Soul Detox series
Running time: 59 minutes, 04 seconds.
All of us have emotions and emotions are part of who we are. There are emotions that are healthy and natural like love, happiness, appreciation. Then there are those that are deadly and can destroy a person like depression, anger, resentment, jealousy. Emotions can and do affect the physical body but they also affect the spiritual side of us as well.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Toxic Emotions
Bitter Roots

For the past 5 weeks we have talked about the toxic behavior our soul is affected by. But Soul Detox goes way beyond our behavior patterns; it is not enough to clear out the toxic behavior, we also have to go in and clean out the Toxic emotions. We now enter into a very serious section of our study. Wow, emotions are very power forces that can rage inside a personís soul. Technically, Emotions come from the subconscious mind. In order to understand the concept of the subconscious mind just consider it the part of your brain that manages all the things that you are not conscious of.

Can you give me any examples of how the subconscious mind manages your body without you thinking about it?

Your subconscious mind gathers the data, sorts facts, determines the suitable emotion that should be triggered and then it sends it to you. That's why you sometimes think that the emotion came out of no where. Itís just that you weren't conscious when it was being prepared. But, the issue isnít the emotion; the issue is controlling the emotion once the brain triggers the response.

All of us have emotions and emotions are part of who we are. There are emotions that are healthy and natural like love, happiness, appreciation. Then there are those that are deadly and can destroy a person like depression, anger, resentment, jealousy. Emotions can and do affect the physical body but they also affect the spiritual side of us as well.

Our first emotion we need to confront is the emotion of resentment or bitterness. This is a very destructive emotion and when left unchecked, it can trigger some very scary reactions. I am very concerned about what will happen after our election season is over. Politicians have spent millions of dollars and made hundreds of speeches to inflame the emotion of resentment. No matter who wins or loses, resentment will be there. As a country, we are now divided by the emotion of resentment and bitterness. There is no question that President Obama has zoomed in on that emotion to cause a sense that those who have not should hate those who haveÖeven if the reality is untrue. We are left with a bitter nation.

Have you ever felt bitterness toward another person? Even if the bitterness was justifiable, where does this emotion come from?

If we would just listen to each other, many of us would discover that there are people close to us that have experienced terrible acts against them or experienced tremendous injustice. Things like rape, physical beatings, child molestation, abandonment, murder, unfaithfulness, and the list goes on. In this church there are many who are hurting and have experienced these terrible acts or have themselves committed them. The emotion that comes is resentment leading to a bitterness that can last for years. Many cry out for justice or in some cases, take matters into their own hands seeking their own form of justice.

True or False: In these situations, who could blame them for being angry? Self-righteous hatred is okay in Godís eyes.

A vast majority of people though would agree that their hatred and bitterness were more than justified. But here is a plain truth; bitterness never draws us closer to God.

Bitterness: It is a nonproductive, toxic emotion usually resulting from resentment over unmet needs.

What ever that unmet need is, the emotion experienced is strong. For many it is getting the world to know that someone who is to blame s a dog, dirt, scoundrel, inhuman and the list goes on. But that never comes. For many, their idea of justice never comes thus a bitterness that rots the soul lingers deep. But what is ironic about bitterness, it only punishes the person who holds it. It is self-punishing that hinders our relationship with God.

Maya Angelou wrote: Bitterness is like a cancer. It eats upon the host.

Hebrews 12:14-15 (NIV)
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

There are two important facts found in this passage of scripture concerning bitterness. What are they? First: we canít control the outcome. Second: We are called to live in peace with everyone even those who have hurt us.

Are you telling me that the person who raped me deserves to have my peace upon him? Are you telling me that the person who molested my child, I am to live in peace with him or her? The problem is that when you are filled with bitterness, you donít want to believe this verse applies to your situation. But it does. The writer here warns us to be on guard for the root of bitterness.

What is the greatest danger to us when we allow bitterness to take over? It causes us to miss Godís grace in our lives. How does it do that?

Bitterness works underground. No one can see the poison moving through your veins. On the outside you might look normal. Yes, you can fool others for a while. But on the inside our bitterness starts to boil. Have you ever caught yourself saying or thinking these things statements:

ē I canít believe that she did that to me.
ē I wouldn't be surprised if something bad happens to him.
ē She deserves it you know.
ē If I ever see her, there is no telling what I might do.
ē I wouldn't treat my worst enemy that way.
ē He is going to pay for this, one way or another.
ē I pray that God give him what he deserves.

If you live long enough, unfortunately every one of us will experience some sort of pain or betrayal. If you are not on guard, a root of bitterness can grow in the soil of a hurt that hasn't been dealt with properly. But, if you donít handle the hurt properly, their sin becomes a catalyst for our own. Then you wonít be hurt once, you get hurt twice then over and over again. The longer you let bitterness grow, the stronger the roots take hold in your heart. The heart motivates action and unresolved bitterness leads to sinful actions. Ultimately it destroys relationships especially the relationship we have with God.

Matthew 7:16-18 (NIV)
By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.

What makes a tree good or bad? The source is often found in the root. What does a bitter root produce? Poisonous fruit.

True or False: A little bitterness goes a long way.

How does that work? One bitter person can destroy the morale in the workplace. One or two bitter teens can ruin a youth group. Bitterness can also destroy a family. Introduce bitterness into a family and as fast as ďPop goes the weaselĒ, a family is destroyed. Introduce one of two bitter dancers and it can really mess up a dance class.

True or False: Bitterness can sometimes produce good results.


How many of you have had problems with roots growing into your sewer lines? One day you notice that your drains are overflowing when you flush the toilets, run the dishwasher or take a bath. You discover that roots have grown into your sewer lines. What do you do? You call Roto-Rooter and have the lines cleaned out and in many cases, you have to have the root removed or the lines will eventually get clogged again.

There is only one way to remove bitterness from your life and that is to kill it at its root. There is only one way to kill the root of bitterness.

Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV)
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

True or False: Do unto others as you want others to do to you. FALSE

We are to treat others as Christ treated us!!! What is the difference? In essence, forgive others in the same way God forgave us. I have said this before, Grace is not AmazingÖit is inconvenient. For our grace to work with God, our grace toward others also has to be the same as Godís toward us. Just as God forgives us even though we donít deserve it, we are to forgive others who have hurt us.

Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV)
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Can anyone tell me what is missing here in this passage? An exception. There are no exceptions to this when it comes to our forgiveness. So how do we surrender to the idea of forgiving someone who deeply hurt us?