by J. Gerald Harris

The Difference Is In the I
Dr. Gerald Harris
Hebrews 12:15

Where I grew up in Western North Carolina there were weeds that grew. We called them "bitter weeds." A bitter weed is stringy and grows to a height of about a foot and has a small yellow flower. My uncle Richard had some dairy cows and he tried to keep those bitter weeds out of the pasture because if the cows ate those weeds, the milk would taste distinctly bitter.

When I was a boy we drank our milk just like the Lord and the cow made it. It was neither pasteurized nor homogenized. I can sympathize with the cows who saw a milk truck drive by and printed in large letters on the truck were the words "pasteurized, homogenized, and vitamin enriched." One cow said to the other, "It makes you feel downright inadequate doesn't it?"

Naturally, farmers would not want their cows to graze on bitter weeds. If the cows ate them the milk would not be palatable. If the milk were to be sold the bitter weeds would mean a financial loss.

Entirely apart from a rural setting, bitter weeds grow in the pastures of life. Sometimes we human eat them and the result is bitterness.

Tonight I want us to think about this matter of bitterness and how to cure it. The first thing that I want to consider is

I. The characteristics of bitterness

In Hebrews 12:15 three things are discovered about bitterness or resentment. In the first place, it grows. In our text the writer f Hebrews says, "Lets any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled." Notice words such as "root" and "springing up." Resentment, unlike grief or sorrow, does not die, it grows. Like Bermuda grass it can look dead in the winter, but when the heat is on it spreads. Bitterness may seem dormant or dead, but when the heat is on it grows. It doesn't take much to reveal its existence.

In the second place, bitterness causes trouble. Notice the text once again. The writer of Hebrews says, "Lest any root of bitterness... tr ...

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