Root of bitterness (139)

     Quotations from the writings of Ellen G. White with the phrase . . .

                R O O T    O F    B I T T E R N E S S           (  3  RELATED  PHRASES )                      

                  The  phrase  'Root of bitterness'  appears  139  times in the published writings of EGW                See page on Original site                                            Related Phrase:  Roots of bitterness  (  below )

  As the seed sown produces a harvest, and this in turn is sown, the harvest is multiplied. In our relation to others, this law holds true.  Every act, every word, is a seed that will bear fruit. Every deed of thoughtful kindness, of obedience, or of self-denial, will reproduce itself in others, and through them in still others. So every act of envy, malice, or dissension is a seed that will spring up in a “root of bitterness” ( Hebrews 12:15), whereby many shall be defiled. And how much larger number will the “many” poison. Thus the sowing of good and evil goes on for time and for eternity. Christ Object Lessons, page 85.1   Read entire Chapter 6



  The Lord has a special work for His people to do at this time. He says: “Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.” This is the very work that the apostle Paul charges the churches to do. “Lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,” he says, “and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 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 12:12-15.  { 8T 79.2} 


  Those who are appointed to guard the spiritual interests of the church should be careful to set a right example, giving no occasion for envy, jealousy, or suspicion, ever manifesting that same spirit of love, respect, andcourtesy which they desire to encourage in their brethren. Diligent heed should be given to the instructions of God's word. Let every manifestation of animosity or unkindness be checked; let every root of bitterness be removed. When trouble arises between brethren, the Saviour's rule should be strictly followed. All possible effort should be made to effect a reconciliation; but if the parties stubbornly persist in remaining at variance, they should be suspended till they can harmonize.  {5T 241.2}  Testimonies, Vol. 5, page 241.2


  "None of us liveth to himself." [Romans 14:7.]  Let those who are tempted to take part in politics, remember that every move they make has its influence upon others. When ministers or others in responsible positions make remarks in regard to these matters, they cannot gather up the thoughts they have planted in human minds. Under Satan's temptations they have set in operation a train of circumstances leading to results of which they little dream. An act, a word, a thought, cast into the minds of the great concourse of humanity, if it bears the heavenly endorsement, will yield a harvest of precious fruit; but if it is inspired by Satan, it will cause the root of bitterness to spring up, whereby many will be defiled. Then let the stewards of God's grace in any line of service, beware how they mingle the common with the sacred."  {GW 396.1}


  The Root of Bitterness.-- While you so readily think and speak evil of one another, while you allow the root of bitterness to spring up and be cherished, your influence scatters from Christ and hardens hearts in resistance to the sweet spirit of unity and peace. Put it all away without a moment's delay. "Love one another," Christ says, "as I have loved you" (John 15:12). -- Lt 33, 1890.  {2MCP 639.2}


  As the seed sown produces a harvest, and this in turn is sown, the harvest is multiplied. In our relation to others, this law holds true. Every act, every word, is a seed that will bear fruit. Every deed of thoughtful kindness, of obedience, of self-denial, will reproduce itself in others, and through them in still others. So every act of envy, malice, or dissension is a seed that will spring up in a "root of bitterness" whereby many shall be defiled. Hebrews 12:15. And how much larger number will the "many" poison! Thus the sowing of good and evil goes on for time and for eternity.  {PK 86.2}


  Christ says of that time, “If it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” And again the question is asked, “When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” Those who use their pen and voice to give such praise to human beings need to have clearer discernment. How much better would it be if this confidence and faith would be exercised toward those who are striving with pen and voice to do the will of God as obedient children, keeping His commandments, not to praise or glorify the individual, but to obey the word of God, to love as brethren, to uproot every fiber of the root of bitterness that they are allowing to spring up.... { CW 98.3}  also  { 7T 184.1} 


   He has instituted this service, that it may speak constantly to our senses of the love of God that has been expressed in our behalf.... This service cannot be repeated without one thought linking itself with another. Thus a chain of thought calls up remembrances of blessings, of kindnesses, and of favors received from friends and brethren, that have passed out of mind. The Holy Spirit, with its quickening, vivifying power, presents the ingratitude and lack of love that have sprung from the hateful root of bitterness. Link after link of memory’s chain is strengthened. The Spirit of God is at work upon human minds. The defects of character, the neglect of duties, the ingratitude to God, are brought to the remembrance, and the thoughts are brought into captivity to Christ.—The Review and Herald, June 7, 1898. { Ev 274.2} 


  Thus Satan works today through his evil angels. He confederates with men who claim to be in the faith; and those who are trying to carry forward the work of God with fidelity, having no man’s person in admiration, working without hypocrisy and partiality, will have just as severe trials brought against them as Satan can bring through those who claim to love God. Proportionate to the light and knowledge these opposers have is Satan’s success. The root of bitterness strikes deep, and is communicated to others. Thus many are defiled. Their statements are confused and untruthful, their principles are unscrupulous, and Satan finds in them the very helpers he needs ( Review and Herald, September 14, 1897). { 4BC 1142.4 } 


   The love of God must pervade the soul, or the fruits of righteousness will not appear. It is not safe to indulge in vanity and pride, or love of power or gain. It is the worst phase of selfishness to fret and censure and complain because you have the power to do this and those whom you abuse in this way cannot prevent you. It is selfishness that causes variance in the family circle and in the church. Unchristian hearts will think they can discern great wrongs in others where none exist and will dwell upon little matters until they appear greatly magnified. The work of adjusting these little matters, which seem so large to some, God has left for His followers themselves to do. Let not those unhappy differences remain till they become a root of bitterness in the church, whereby many will be defiled. When Christ is in the heart it will be so softened and subdued by love for God and man that fretting, faultfinding, and contention will not exist there. The religion of Christ in the heart will gain for its possessor a complete victory over those passions that are seeking for the mastery. { 4T 610.1} 


  It is a most serious matter to go from house to house, and under pretense of doing missionary work, cast in the seed of mistrust and suspicion. Each one speedily germinates, and there is created a distrust of God's servants, who have His message to bear to the people. When God speaks through His servants, the seed [of mistrust and suspicion] sown has developed into a root of bitternessThe word falls upon hearts that will not hear, on hearts that will not respond. No earthly or heavenly power can find access to the soul.  {2SM 70.3}


 Who is accountable for these souls? Who shall eradicate that poisonous root of bitterness that has prevented them from receiving the word of the Lord? A good sister or a brother planted the evil seed, but how can that one restore the soul thus imperiled? The tongue that should have been used to the glory of God in speaking words of hope and faith and confidence in God's workmen has turned away a soul from Jesus Christ. Those who themselves despised the words of Christ, and refused to hear His voice and to be converted, have leavened other minds with the leaven of evil surmisings and evilspeaking.  {2SM 70.4}


  Satan has been using you as his agent to insinuate doubts and to reiterate insinuations and misrepresentations which have originated in an unsanctified heart, which God would have cleansed from its pollution. But you refused to be instructed, refused correction, rejected reproof, and followed your own will and way. Souls are defiled by this root of bitterness and are, through these questioning, murmuring ones, placed where the testimony of reproof which God sends will not reach them. The blood of these souls will be chargeable to you and to the spirits with whom you are in harmony.  {4T 229.1}

  God takes men as they are, with the human element in their character, and then trains them for His service if they will be disciplined and learn of Him. The root of bitterness, envy, distrust, jealousy, and even hatred, which exists in the hearts of some church members, is the work of Satan. Such elements have a poisonous influence upon the church. "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." The religious zeal which is manifested in a raid upon brethren is a zeal not according to knowledge. Christ has nothing to do with such testimony.  {4T 489.1}


   If you have misjudged your brother, if you have in the least degree weakened his influence, so that the message which God has given him to bear has been made of little or no effect, your sin does not rest merely with the individual, but you have resisted the Spirit of God; your attitude, your words, have been against your Saviour. Jesus says, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." He identifies his interest with that of every human soul, believer or unbeliever. That God who marks the fall of a sparrow, marks your deportment and your feelings; he marks your envy, your prejudice, your attempt to justify your action in the least matter of injustice. When you misconceive the words and acts of another, and your own feelings are stirred, so that you make incorrect statements, and it is known that you are at variance with your brother, you lead others, through their confidence in you, to regard him just as you do; and the root of bitterness springing up, many are defiled. When it is evident that your feelings are incorrect, do you try just as diligently to remove the erroneous impressions as you did to make them? In these matters the Spirit of Christ has been grieved. The Saviour accounts these things as done to himself.  {RH, December 16, 1890 par. 10}


  There is danger now of men's losing sight of the important truths applicable for this period of time, and seeking for those things that are new and strange and entrancing. Many, if reproved by the Spirit of God through His appointed agencies, refuse to receive correction, and a root of bitterness is planted in their hearts against the Lord's servants who carry heavy, disagreeable burdens. There are men who teach the truth, but who are not perfecting their ways before God, who are trying to conceal their defections and encourage an estrangement from God. They have not the moral courage to do the things that it is for their special benefit to do. They see no necessity for reform, and so they reject the words of the Lord and hate him who reproveth at the gate.  {TM 408.1}


   To those who have been injured without cause these words of Scripture apply, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” [Romans 12:18] Their failure to live at peace with all men is not due to the course they themselves have pursued, but to the envy,  jealousy,  and  evil surmising of those who have been in the wrong. A division is caused. How shall it be healed? Shall the man that has been sinned against, misjudged, and maligned, be called to give an account?  Shall he seek for something in his past course by which he can humiliate himself?  Shall he acknowledge himself in the wrong for the sake of making peace? — No.  If he has tried to do his duty, and has been patient under abuse, he is not to humble himself to acknowledge that he is guilty. He does the offenders great wrong thus to take the guilt upon his soul, admitting that he has given them occasion for their course of action. This is very pleasing to those who have done the work of the enemy; but heaven’s books record the facts just as they are. Concessions that are not true from the one who has been wrongfully treated gratify the feelings of the carnal heart. The wrongdoers interpret their position as zeal for God, when in truth it is zeal to do the work of the adversary of souls. They do not dig out of their hearts the root of bitterness,  but leave the fibers to spring up when Satan shall stir them again to active growth. { RH January 16, 1900, par. 8 }  



                                           roots  of  bitterness                                                   
  The holy Watcher from heaven is present at this season to make it one of soul searching, of conviction of sin, and of the blessed assurance of sins forgiven. Christ in the fullness of His grace is there to change the current of the thoughts that have been running in selfish channels. The Holy Spirit quickens the sensibilities of those who follow the example of their Lord. As the Saviour's humiliation for us is remembered, thought links with thought; a chain of memories is called up, memories of God's great goodness and of the favor and tenderness of earthly friends. Blessings forgotten, mercies abused, kindnesses slighted, are called to mind.  Roots of bitterness that have crowded out the precious plant of love are made manifest. Defects of character, neglect of duties, ingratitude to God, coldness toward our brethren, are called to remembrance. Sin is seen in the light in which God views it. Our thoughts are not thoughts of self-complacency, but of severe self-censure and humiliation. The mind is energized to break down every barrier that has caused alienation. Evil thinking and evilspeaking are put away. Sins are confessed, they are forgiven. The subduing grace of Christ comes into the soul, and the love of Christ draws hearts together in a blessed unity.  {DA 650.5}






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