“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.”–Hebrews 12:15
Bruce Goodrich was being initiated into the cadet corps at Texas A&M University. One night, Bruce was forced to run until he dropped—but he never got up. Bruce Goodrich died before he even entered college.
A short time after the tragedy, Bruce’s father wrote this letter to the administration, faculty, student body, and the corps of cadets:
“I would like to take this opportunity to express the appreciation of my family for the great outpouring of concern and sympathy from Texas A&M University and the college community over the loss of our son, Bruce. We were deeply touched by the tribute paid to him in the battalion. We were particularly pleased to note that his Christian witness did not go unnoticed during his brief time on campus.
I hope it will be some comfort to know that we harbor no ill will in the matter. We know our God makes no mistakes. Bruce had an appointment with his Lord and is now secure in his celestial home. When the question is asked, ‘Why did this happen?’ perhaps one answer will be, ‘So that many will consider where they will spend eternity.’”
While many people were upset over the tragedy at Texas A&M, Mr. Goodrich showed that even though his son had been killed, he was not going to harbor bitterness against the college or the young people who had caused his son’s death. He let go of the hurt and trusted the Lord’s hand in the situation.
Have you ever known someone who lived with anger and bitterness in their hearts? Maybe they had been wronged or someone had mistreated them years ago, yet they still held onto the hurt feelings.
…. God desires for us to pattern our lives after Him. Think of how many times the Lord was wronged as He lived on earth. Yet nowhere in the Bible do we read of Jesus harboring feelings of bitterness or anger. Rather than holding onto the hurt, He trusted His Father to take care of the situation.
Friend, no matter how long you nurse a grudge, it won’t get better. The root of bitterness is like an infection that spreads from one person to the next. Often bitter people share their bitterness with others. Before you know it, many people are feeling hurt and bitter over something that didn’t even happen to them! You cannot handle bitterness without affecting others.
Have you been wronged? Did someone treat you unfairly or hurt you in some way? Rather than holding onto that bitterness and feeling angry, give it to the Lord. Consider how many times Jesus could have become bitter at those who mistreated Him—but He didn’t! He showed love and forgiveness when others persecuted Him. Ask God to help you let go of the hurt feelings you still have. And the next time you feel hurt or bitter, seek the Lord’s help in letting go of the bitterness and forgiving others. –Dr. Paul Chappell