U-G-L-Y, You ain’t got no alibi…

Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

I make no excuses for my southern heritage…I am proud of my background!  As a high schooler, one of the cheers (or jeers) that we would cry out to the opponent fans during a basketball game was, “U-G-L-Y, You ain’t got no alibi…You ugly!”  Yours truly would scream this out with as loud a volume (and without any grace and mercy!) that my lungs could muster!  Not exactly a picture of Christian love and character!  But, man, it was fun!

Something in the world that is really U-G-L-Y is a bitter person.  My wife and I have a relative that for forty-five years has been incredibly bitter toward her ex-husband.  Her ex was an executive in a large multi-national company who chose to become sexually involved with his executive assistant and ended up marrying her.  This emotionally crushed our relative and to the day, to the day she talks about this as if it happened yesterday.  BITTERNESS has over-powered her life every day for these many years.  A huge root has grown and dominated her life negatively impacting others especially her two children, their marriages and her grandchildren.  If her children’s father showed up any event that she attended, it became ugly.  She single-handedly sabotaged a beautiful wedding of her son and daughter-in-law as well birthdays and special events.  Divorces and hurtfulness have followed her children and grandchildren.

The Bible passage above talks about “no one fall(ing) short of the grace of God.”  As Christians, because of the testimony of Jesus, our lives are inconsistent without grace.  As God gave us what we did not deserve, His only begotten Son showing us grace to the highest level dying on an ugly, filthy, humiliating, excruciatingly painful cross on our behalf, a Christian not showing grace absolutely makes no sense at all.  Well, you may say, “I can’t do that.  It’s impossible in my situation!”  You can’t but the Holy Spirit who lives within you can.  I didn’t say it is easy.  Your psyche and emotions want payback!!  In the flesh, you can’t do it.  Allow God, the Holy Spirit, to do this through you.  Philippians 2:12-13 …continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.  You cry to God for His help (“work out your salvation”) and God “works in you to will and to act in order fulfill His good purpose.”  He will be grace in you and through you.

The result of “a bitter root” is it “causes trouble and defiles many.”  You cannot do bitterness in a vacuum.  It is so ugly that if ends up defiling others, usually your most precious relationships…your children, their children, other close family members and close friends.

If bitterness has over-taken you, allow God to help you forgive and let God’s grace and mercy clean up this ugly root!  Then, watch your healing spill over and give grace to others.

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