April 20

Written by Bill Grandi on April 20th, 2023

There is a lot of talk these days, and has been over the past few years, about slavery. Granted, slavery was and in some cases still is a blight on humanity, but for all the talk about slavery, there is a slavery far worse.

Far worse than the slavery of history? Yes.

Far worse than the slavery of sex trafficking? Yes.

It’s the slavery of heart and mind so many find themselves in. Let me explain. I was texting with someone recently who is doing a Bible study on a Bible character of a not-so-good reputation. Culturally, women were treated with disdain (unless they could bear a male child). They were seen as a possession, like cattle to be bought and sold. Property to be used, not people to be loved and valued. (That is a general statement. There were exceptions).

Along comes Jesus. He changes everything. Friends with Mary and Martha (and their brother, Lazarus).  He healed a women who had an issue of blood, one who had spent all she had on doctors (sound familiar?) with no cure. He was kind to the woman at the well in John 4.  He resisted the religious leaders in their  treatment of the woman caught in adultery (where was the man by the way?) in John 8.

The slavery of history is bad; it is wrong. But a greater, more devastating slavery is the one of the heart and mind. As I was texting with this individual, I spoke about the slavery of being bitter and unforgiving, of allowing another person to occupy space in our minds, and ultimately, the heart. If I/you can allow the mere mention or sight of that person to conjure up feelings of anger and even hatred, they are not the one hurt by that…WE. ARE!! To put it bluntly: they. own. us. They are living rent-free in our minds and don’t even know it. But we do. Our stomach does. Our emotions do.  Even our sleep does.

For the Christ-follower it is a bit more devastating, a double whammy so to speak. It will eat us up inside. It will also hinder our prayer life. It will hinder our worship. In short, it will hinder our relationship with God because there will be an obstacle, a barrier, that is always around. It is like a fence is around our heart.

There is a reason the Bible says, “Get rid of all hatred and bitterness.” (Eph. 4:31) and “do not allow a root of bitterness to spring up.” (Heb.12:15) 

You can choose to be free or to be someone’s slave.


12 Comments so far ↓

  1. Ryan S. says:

    Bitterness and Hatred toward someone are consuming. They do nothing positive for the individual that experience these emotions. The sad part is, these thoughts tend to impact more than just the individual. They can effect families especially when divorce and children are involved. I have witnessed it, I have experienced it, and to be honest, I find it very difficult to tolerate it.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Well, this was weird. I had to sign into my own blog to make a comment. You hit the nail on the head Ryan. It is difficult to see it happen in individual’s lives and to see it when it affects others is even more aggravating. You have an honest reaction.

  2. Glynn says:

    Wise words, Bill.

  3. The importance of forgiveness can never be stressed enough, Bill. To hold all those negative feelings inside is a sure-fire way to sabotage ourselves.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Most definitely Martha. Alot of folks sabotage themselves and don’t even know it.

  4. gail says:

    The problem with a bitter root, is that it never stays in one place, it’s an invasive species, it spreads itself all over your mind and body. The more you refuse to deal with the issue the more places it gets into. No one can deal with bitter root on their own, you have to surrender the bitter root to God. The good news is, God is an expert of dealing with bitter roots. The biggest issue is that their is a misunderstanding of what grace and forgiveness is really about. It is not saying what happened to you is alright or acceptable. It is simply saying, I will allow God to handle this, I trust God with it, and I will give the same grace to the offender that God gives me. I will no longer hold on to bitter feelings about this, its over, God has it.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Well said Gail. one of the important things you said is “It is not saying what happened to you is alright or acceptable.” That is so true. But our reaction to it tells whether what happened and who did it will haunt us and dominate us.

  5. Kari Scare says:

    My pastor reminds us often to “keep short accounts” to keep anything from growing to where we are controlled by it and our relationships severely damaged. This is his way of encouraging us to not let bitterness to become rooted in our lives. It’s something I remind myself of as a way to find the motivation to deal with issues while they’re small.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I totally agree with his words Kari. If we keep those short accounts they can’t hang around. And I like your thought of dealing with them when they are small.

  6. Cheryl says:

    This is SO true. Those roots of bitterness springing up trouble us and everyone who loves us, and many are certainly defiled by them. Lord, help me to forgive quickly each time something tries to spring up in my heart. Thank you for this precious admonishment, Pastor Bill!

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Thanks Cheryl. If only people-all people-could realize how the root of bitterness causes such damage, both physically and spiritually. May we all empty our hearts of bitterness and all the fruits of unrighteousness.