Lessons from a Grape
On a sunny afternoon, I watched a precious little boy with cherub-chubby cheeks bite into the first of the grapes that were in his container. His lips smacked as he enjoyed the sweetness of the grape. About the time that he reached for the second grape, his face screwed into a frown, and with all the fierceness that he could muster, he spit the grape out, producing a tiny seed amid the mushed grape.
It only took one bite into a grape seed to learn about bitterness. The sweetness of the entire grape is completely overshadowed by the extreme bitterness of the tiniest seed. In Biblical times, grapes were crushed by stepping on the grapes because the pressure of the foot was perfect for mashing the grape and extracting the juice while not breaking open the seed that would ruin the wine.
Like grapes and their tiny seeds, bitterness that is hidden deep within our lives leads to ruin. The evidence of this bitterness is extreme or intense anger or hostility, sometimes accompanied by long-held resentment and a real desire to get even. It’s not surprising that an internet search on bitterness reveals all kinds of self-help articles and resources to help you find a way to remedy it. Bitterness is devastating and debilitating; it leaks out of that deep “hidden place” and poisons the sweetness of our lives.
Bitterness doesn’t just damage the person who harbors it. Instead, it spills onto the lives of all who come in contact with the bitter person. In Hebrews 12:15, the scripture instructs us to make sure that no one misses out on God’s grace, and that “no root of bitterness grows up that might cause trouble and pollute many people” (CEB). Bitterness can’t be cured with self-help; it can only be cured by “God-help” that He’s provided through grace. If you are harboring bitterness, accept the gift of God’s grace and let Him relieve you of the burden of bitterness.
– TH –