No Bitter Roots Among Us
Now one thing I will never do is have a problem with Dan and just avoid him.
Never in my life will I ever permit that. Because my commitment is to Jesus and if Dan’s bought by the blood of Jesus, then I have no right to trample Jesus’ blood under foot by holding a judgment in my heart against him. I will not do that.
And no one will let me do that. We might be sitting in a room of people just sharing life together, and we come and we go. We eat together and we come and we go. And because we’re family, someone can notice that whenever Dan begins to say something I look away. Or whenever he comes into the house, I leave. Someone is going to notice that because we are so close every day. They are going to say to me, “What is your problem? You go to him right now and you fix that! Don’t let one more day go by without your resolving that with your brother.”
So, everybody can live that way. Living the opposite of that is hypocrisy. If I form a judgment and then I stand back and hold onto that judgment, that’s being a hypocrite! Jesus was angry at the hypocrites. He did not permit people to act one way and think a different way in their heart. That’s forbidden! And Jesus is angry towards hypocrites. So we don’t allow any hypocrisy.
For 20 years we have not allowed hypocrisy to have any part in our existence. And we’ve had many, many people and no splits ever in twenty years. That’s because we deal with the little things such as “my feelings were hurt.” So I go to you and say, “You said something to me and it hurt my feelings. You may not have even meant it. Maybe it was just a joke. Or maybe I didn’t hear it right.”
I WILL NOT permit the thought “my feelings are hurt” to be in my own heart. I will go to them and say, “You hurt my feelings.” And they’ll say, “Oh, I never meant that. I wasn’t even talking about that. I was talking about something else.” And I respond, “Oh! Thank you.” And then we hug each other. And now we have a closer relationship than we’ve ever had in our life, because we’ve refused to let sin creep in. “See to it, brothers…” and I’m speaking on behalf of the Lord to you right now, “See to it brothers that no bitter root grows up among you defiling many.”
We are responsible not only to avoid that root in our own hearts, but to make sure no one else has a bitter root in their heart. And I think that’s why we are here. This bitter root has gone on way too long. It has root systems now that reach all across the country. These are the kinds of things that we have got to cut off quickly. “See to it brothers that no bitter root grows up among you.” Why? Because it defiles many. Doesn’t it?
Isn’t it obvious? Innocent people are hurt. It’s unfair to the innocent people to be hurt by these things. They don’t even know what’s going on and they’re hurt by it.
That’s just not right. So part of the problem happens when you keep defining your Christian lives together by “meetings,” and then you’ll go off in your family and you’ll have a good little family. You think that if you get really good at having your good family, then you might be able to step out and have a relationship with some other people. That’s wrong! We talked about this yesterday. My family is BETTER because I have brothers in my house every day to help me have a better relationship with my wife. It helps me have a better relationship with my children and vice versa. So my family is better and closer because there are a hundred mothers, brothers, and sisters.
It’s about knowing I can’t do this very well by myself. I need brothers in my home and in my life. They can see, for example, how I treat my wife because I don’t always see it. Not on my own. I’m impatient or I’m proud. Or I’m bossy. I would keep being that way, maybe because I don’t even see it, unless there are other brothers in my home to help me see. So every day and every night people come and go through my home. A hundred mothers, brothers, and sisters come and go through each other’s homes. They don’t even knock, they just walk in because they’re part of our family and they help me raise my children. They help me love my wife and vice versa.
I don’t try to get everything “all straightened out” and then if I have any time left over, I go to a meeting or go visit somebody. That’s man-made religion. That’s not what Jesus taught and that’s not what Jesus did. That’s not what you read about in the Bible.
So part of the problem is this idea of being meeting-centered rather than life-centered with just the icing on top of our cake being a meeting. The main thing we do—90% of our effort if we’re life-centered—is to say, “Let me go see this brother. Come with me, wife. Let’s go see this family.” On the way we see another family and we bring them with us. We all just show up and we bring food. We pray together for a few minutes, maybe share a scripture and then we go. It’s not an all day meeting; it’s not an all night meeting. Maybe it turns into that. Maybe it goes all through the night and into dawn and somebody is raised from the dead. That’s good too. But our purpose is to get our lives woven together and that takes effort.
We have to decide to weave our lives together. And that’s true in the Philippines, that’s true in India, it’s true in Brazil, and guess what? It’s true in the United States and in Africa too. It takes effort to weave our lives and our families together. But doing that begins to solve some of these other problems. The judgments begin to melt away. The opinions begin to mesh together as we work them out. If I feel something bad toward someone, I don’t get away with that feeling because it just creates walls and things gets worse not better.
So our commitment to daily life solves almost every problem. And if there were people in your homes every day and you were visiting other people’s homes every day, then we wouldn’t even be talking about anyone’s moral failure because it would never have happened. Someone gets away with murder because he is weak and no one is part of his daily life. He was a little bit on a pedestal. And none of us can be on a pedestal without falling off and hurting ourselves.
That’s true for me or any of us. We need brothers and sisters in our lives to say, “Where are you going exactly? Why did you disappear so late into the evening by yourself? Explain that to me, please.” You wouldn’t let your children do that. “Oh, dad, I’ll see you tomorrow.” “What? You come here and tell me what you’re thinking, what’s your plan.”
Well, if everybody lives that way every day then our weaknesses—in our eyes and in our minds, in our families and in our personal lives—are covered and helped by our brothers. If these brothers see me looking at something, a picture or a person that’s not dressed properly, somebody will grab my chin and say, “Keep your eyes on Jesus.”
I’m not on a pedestal. I want them to know they are free to help me overcome the evil one. We need each other.