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Bitter-Root Judgement and Expectancy

[My thoughts are scattered and I'm having trouble concentrating. I started writing this a week ago and I realize now it may make no sense. I'm posting it anyway.]
See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12:15 NIV

I’ve been slowly making my way through the book The Transformation of the Inner Man by John and Paula Sandford. The chapter called “Bitter-Root Judgment and Expectancy” really spoke to me.

What is a bitter-root judgement? As a child (could be as an adult too), when we experienced or observed something we didn’t like, we often made judgements about the person we connected to that event and then developed an expectancy that others would behave in the same disappointing way. Because of our expectancy, those we become close to will actually unconsciously conform to that expectancy. This sets us up for a lot of painful relationships and interactions. Those judgements and expectancies continue to operate in our lives until we become aware of them and bring them to the cross.
“Just as a tiny mustard seed grows to produce a large tree, so a seed of judgment sown increases the longer it remains unrecognized and unrepented of.”*
As I reread the parts of the chapter I underlined (I make a real mess with my books, underlining and writing notes), I realized that I have lived a life of judgement. I must have a lot of bitter roots, whether I’m aware of their origins or not. I liked this statement:
“God gives us a beloved enemy to force us spiritually lazy people to face what is undealt with in our flesh, else we would go through life ever congratulating ourselves that we are okay without Him.

“Unfortunately what happens in many marriages is that when couples begin to grow close enough to one another that the grinding and polishing process is going on in earnest, they withdraw from the pain [and] erect defensive walls to hide their vulnerability....”

That quote describes me in many ways. I think I have congratulated myself many times that I had things pretty much altogether. Ha! Was I fooled! As for defensive walls, I’m beginning to realize that not only am I the one who built them, but I’ve completely surrounded myself with them. That’s a huge lack of trust in God and the self-protective walls keep me from the very closeness I long to have.
“There is only one answer for any marriage.... That is to exchange that dividing wall of hostility for the cross of Christ. It is to stop all demands that the other change. It is to die daily to self, to continually ask the Lord, ‘What in me is contributing...? What is there in me that needs to die?’”

Transforming my life “means choosing to be vulnerable and trusting the Lord to defend and protect.”

Can I do this, Lord? Am I willing to hand myself over to those I love in complete vulnerability and trust you to protect me? How much do I trust you? I’ve been depending on myself to protect me instead of you. How do I change this? Please help me!



*All non-Scripture quotes are from The Transformation of the Inner Man by John and Paula Sandford. Victory House (Tulsa, OK): 1982. pages 237 to 248.

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Oh God
You surround me with your love,
with memories
of who you are
of what you've done
of promises you've made
of who I want to be
of who I am because of you.

You give me hope and joy,
peace and gratitude.
You convict me
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encourage me
and remind me
of what it means to follow you.












You listen to my prayers
and grant my requests
in your time.
You give me insight
and knowledge
and words to write
to share your presence
your goodness
your love
your admonition
with others.























You expand my love
to pray for friend and foe
near and far
family and stranger
people as pins on maps
clustered and scattered
who know you and reject you
for those in need
and those too full to need.


















You draw me close
and then release me
to bring you close to others
to serve
and love
and give
all I have received.

You fill my heart with joy
that warms
and glows
and bursts
into laughter,
song
and even dance.

You wrap me in your arms
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"You are mine"
with intensity that burns
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