Bitter Root Judgment

Tags: Healing, Discernment, Spiritual Warfare
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Bitter Root Judgment
Bitter Root Judgment will explain to you how the heart can become bitter through unresolved pain and how God seeks to bring restoration and healing.

Bitter Root Judgment

I do not have a speech impediment, but let us say that for the sake of this article, that I did. Let’s say that because of my speech impediment, I would get regularly mocked by my peers in school. This made me feel lonely and even afraid to socialize with others. I retreated somewhat because of this.

Now let’s say several years have now passed. I meet a new friend who seems unbiased (and really is unbiased). He is an honorable person. We enjoy fellowship together. One day, we are talking about something, and I am hesitant to want to share all of the details. Sensing I am reticent, he says to me, “Just say it straight.” He did not mean to offend me at all, but as it turns out, his words remind me of the way I used to be mocked on account of my speech impediment. Immediately, I lash out at him, and say, “Are you mocking me!?”

Of course, he was not mocking me at all. It is simply that his choice of words reminded me of the people who used to mock me. What happened?

What happened was that I had hurt inside of me. This hurt constitutes memories and pain which is still in my heart, after all of these years. It is OK to have memories, but pain is a different story. To have pain means I have not yet surrendered or released my pain to God.

Usually, in cases like this, a person will need to cry in order to release their pain to God. The mechanism by which the tears will flow is that God finally breaks through our stony (that is, calloused) heart.

And if that person is you, maybe you have believed the lie that “grown men do not cry,” which further frustrates God’s plans for you because God wants you free, and not bound with pain. And tears are one of his primary means by which he sets people free on a spiritual and emotional level. Furthermore, a person’s soul and their emotions are interconnected, because the soul gives direction to the mind, will, and emotions. And so tears are one of God’s chief methods of undoing a lot of spiritual bondage. But getting back to our example ...

My pain is, in fact, unresolved. If it was resolved, I would not feel the pain or lash out in the way that I did. I would simply love my neighbor, and not treat him unkindly, because of the sin of another.

Is it reasonable, or was it reasonable, that I lashed out at my good friend like this, who did not ever treat me in a negative manner? Actually, I sinned against him, by prejudging him on account of the sins of my other (so-called) friends. Do you see how it works? I have now imported my pain, and my hurt, into my current relationship, and brought an idol (my pain) into our midst, where it is now beginning to “do damage” to my current relationship. This ought not to be. If I was pure in heart, being free from idolatry, and if I had never been wounded to begin with, I would have never judged my good friend in this manner.

We call this bitter root judgment, on account of a bitter root that is in my heart. This is addressed in the book of Hebrews:

“looking carefully lest there be any man who falls short of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and many be defiled by it” (Hebrews 12:15)

It is also addressed in the Old Testament:

“lest there should be among you man, woman, family, or tribe whose heart turns away today from Yahweh our God, to go to serve the gods of those nations; lest there should be among you a root that produces bitter poison” (Deuteronomy 29:18).

In this last case, we see how idolatry and bitterness are very much connected together.

The bitter root defiles, because on account of an unresolved hurt (that is bitterness), I have now lashed out at my friend, who did not do anything bad at all. I have judged him, on account of the sin of another. This was wholly unfair. Why did I even do it?

I did it because I did not want to forgive my previous (so-called) friends! Abiding in unforgiveness, I reserved judgment upon the whole world for the sin of a few people against me. What on earth was in my heart to cause this to happen? The answer will shock you: bitterness, unforgiveness, and even more1. We call this an impure heart. And the problem with an impure heart is that it is a deceived heart.

We are warned about how deceived the human heart can be, in Jeremiah 17:

The heart is deceitful above all things and it is exceedingly corrupt. Who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

The deceived heart is a heart that actually prefers deception to truth. This impure heart is actually aligned with the father of lies in one or more areas because it is a lie to believe that anyone else should be responsible for any sin that was committed against me, except the one who perpetrated that sin.

This is big.

This is serious.

And this will also bring about tensions, problems, and difficulties, which will manifest in a tangible way in order to expose some of the lies that I have been believing. Even as Jesus said to the man who had been crippled, whom he had just healed,

“Sin no more, so that nothing worse happens to you.” (See John 5:14)

From this, we can see that sometimes, the problems in our lives are related to sin. But what is insidious about bitter root judgment is that we can live with it for so long, and not even detect that it is there. How come? That is because our heart becomes one with the lie. We prefer that lie so much to the truth! Therefore, God has to use “difficult means” to get through to us. These “difficult means” can include disease or other things that are “enemies” to us. (In the case of King Solomon, when he began to prefer lies to truth, God raised up three adversaries that is enemies in order to get his attention, which you can read about in 1 Kings 11. In the case of some other kings, God used invading armies to signal to them that they were preferring lies to truth! Yes, it can get extreme, sometimes!)

Since bitter root judgment can stem from very deep pain and rejection that we have suffered, it is possible, and even likely, that when a person puts their faith in Christ, much of the time they will not get delivered of this pain and bondage immediately. Why not? Because they cannot even see it!

They will have to go through a process of sanctification (learning to walk in a holy manner, learning to say no to sin) before they will even be able to receive the healing that God wants them to receive. God will not even open their spiritual eyes to recognize it, until they have surrendered and are willing to do things God’s way. Hence, that is what all of the trouble is for.

Trouble comes when God has tried other means to reach us, which have not resulted in change, but stagnation. It is not that God wants us to experience trouble, but that he wants to reach our hearts. And trouble is the portal, or gateway, often, by which God is able to do that.

When I give way to bitter root judgment, all of a sudden, I am now a walking, living, breathing, enemy of God (at least in this area), on account of the judgment that is in my heart! I am actually aligning myself with evil, and distancing myself from God when I do this.

The reason I do not see, or understand, that bitter root judgment is in my heart, is because I have lived with is for so long, that I have literally become one with the bitterness. Since bitterness and pain are primarily a spiritual problem, this can, and almost always does, attract deceiving spirits (demons), as well.

One in Mind and Spirit with a Deceiving Spirit

When you are one with bitterness, you become one with the spirit that is behind it, as well. You will fail to even detect that this spirit exists (or you will misrepresent any communication that you receive from that spirit as the voice of God), unless God, in his mercy, provides you with a barometer that you can use to check yourself. In order to protect yourself from being deceived by spirits such as this, please read, Two Ways to Hear God.

God’s original barometer is the conscience, but we may become dull in our conscience because of sin. God’s second barometer is the word of God, but we may decide not to read it or heed it, preferring instead to explain some of it away in ways that are not biblical, thus nullifying its effects. Finally, God’s barometer of choice, for those who prefer to ignore his still small voice and his word is pain. C.S. Lewis wrote, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”2

So if you are currently experiencing pain, and your world is upside down, it may very well be that God is trying to speak to you. Yet for some, whose hearts are quite hardened, even the pain must be ratcheted up significantly in order for God to be heard. For example, (king) Manasseh had to be hauled off to a foreign prison before he would finally listen to God. And others, sadly, will not listen at all, even if they experience pain. For we read,

They gnawed their tongues because of the pain, and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores. They still did not repent of their works. (See Revelation 16:10-11)

Therefore, we see that sometimes the heart is so hard, that not even “all the pain in the world” will make any difference. But if you have the Spirit of the living God dwelling inside of you, being a born-again Christian, then we hope that this is not the case with you!

 

1. E.g. pride, jealously, vengeance, hatred, pride can all be connected.

2. https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/1180-pain-insists-upon-being-attended-to-god-whispers-to-us

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