See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; so that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled. Hebrews 12:15
The grace of God can seem like an amorphous concept at times—a shapeless reality. Obtain the grace of God? What is the grace of God anyway, and how am I expected to attain it?
We think of the word grace in many different ways—ease & suppleness of movement or a charming or attractive trait. We will say things like, “he spoke with such grace,” or “she moves with such grace across the floor.”
Yet, biblically the term “grace” has little to do with movements or matters of speaking. Biblical grace has more to do with us receiving Divine assistance and power to overcome our natural, fleshly, sinful tendencies. “Grace” is God offering His assistance for our feebleness.
That is why the writer of Hebrews says “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God.” Don’t fail to receive His help. Don’t fail to acquire His assistance, His power, His enabling to overcome our natural sins because here is a truth– we all sin. We all miss the mark by choice and by nature. We willfully sin against God and one another, and we often sin against God and others without even trying too hard.
Sin is a river that flows through all of our lives. Until we acknowledge that, this river will continue to spill over its banks bringing destruction to ourselves and to other people.
Look at what the writer of Hebrews says about why we need God’s help:
so that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.
Because we are sinners who naturally want nothing to do with God or His grace, we are thrown back upon our own resources to manage our lives. We are the masters of our own destiny (we believe). Therefore, if anyone disagrees with our ideologies, our politics, our view of life then they become the Enemy that we seek to squash with our reasoning or our brute force.
If our enemies ever get the upper hand or provide enough resistance to us that we feel threatened, it is easy to become embittered against them. Life then becomes about tearing them down, seeking revenge either through slander or other more serious forms of retribution.
Yet, our bitterness rarely remains alone. It will seek to spread the gospel of anger to other sympathetic ears, and bitterness, because it is natural to all of us, often finds eager disciples who can in turn share their poisoned hearts.
And what’s the effect? By it many become defiled. The bitter soul is defiled, and the cancer is spread to others. The person at whom the bitterness is aimed is harmed; their family and friends are harmed, reputations can be ruined, and relational carnage litters the landscape of homes, churches, bedrooms, and offices, etc., etc…
The grace of God is indispensible. It provides the inoculation against the poison of bitterness. It sets everything in perspective through the Cross of Jesus. It is the great equalizer of all humanity.
The way to not fall short of the grace of God is to realize your great need of forgiveness, that you don’t stand head & shoulders above anyone but that the foot of the Cross is level ground. We are all in need of grace to overcome sin.
It is when we begin to embrace this truth that we actually find ourselves empowered by this grace that enables us to forgive, and our poisoned hearts can be healed.