Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears. Hebrews 12:14-17
We should pursue peace with all men– saved and unsaved alike. How you pursue that peace will depend on if you are dealing with a person who lives in darkness, or if it is someone who lives in the light of the Lord.
When you seek peace with one who lives in darkness you tend to share the love of God with them and reflect the love and peace that God gives to you, so that they may see and desire that same love. You have patience and concern for them. You show compassion and a willingness to reach out to them.
Seeking peace with a brother or a sister should come naturally because the Lord calls us to be like-minded. But we tend to treat brethren differently. Admittedly, it can be easier to get that peace with one who is unsaved than with one who is saved. You would not think that, but we tend to have more patience with those we do not expect to understand than those we think do.
If you don’t have that peace with a member of the body, then you need to let that person know why. Take it to them and get it resolved. Jesus himself laid out the actions one should take when a brethren sins (Matthew 18:15-17). If you are in the wrong, get rid of that pride and admit it. Listen, REPENT and be forgiven.
We should also “see to it that no one comes short of the grace of God.” We are to work together to be strong in the Lord. We are to build each other up, not tear each other apart.
In 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 Paul talks about those who are born of Christ are one body with many members. That you can not only say you are not part of the body, but you also must recognize that each part has a purpose in order to make the entire body work correctly and that you can not say to another member we don’t need you.
A body can not see without eyes, it can not hear without ears, it can not walk without legs and can not grasp without arms. When one or more members of the body is suffering, the whole body suffers.
The next part of that verse says “that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled”. It doesn’t say just the person who has the root will be defiled, but what it says is that many be defiled. That means it affects more than one person. People can be swayed by the words and actions of those who become trusted friends or teachers.
This is especially true if a person is not yet of the Lord or extremely young and unsure of everything. They may even turn away due to the animosity of those who are members of the body and are not reflecting Gods love amongst themselves.
What is a root of bitterness? A root of bitterness is something that causes you to harm another person, such as pride, animosity, rivalry. It is something that causes dissension and division.
That root of bitterness may start off as something small, but it could grow into something huge – just as a tiny seed can become a giant tree. And People can be defiled by these things.
The Greek word for defiled is Miaino (me-ah’-ee-no) and it means to defile, pollute, sully, contaminate, soil.
You contaminate a persons understanding of God’s love, you pollute their thoughts, create division by allowing a root of bitterness to grow.
The scripture goes on to talk of the story of Esau and Jacob. Esau was the older of twins born to Isaac. His brother was Jacob.
Esau being the first born son would receive a double portion of the father’s property. But he gave that up to Jacob for a meal (Genesis 25:30-34) Later he felt bad and decided he wanted it back, but he would not receive it. It went to Jacob (Genesis 27). Esau had regret about what he had done, but he didn’t desire to repent of the sin, so he lost his birthright.
Bitterness not only can destroy those around you, it can also destroy you. Having anger, jealousy or any kind of animosity for others can destroy the love in your heart. It can put a stumbling block for your growth and relationship with God. It compromises your faith, because if you truly believe what the word of God says, you will put it aside and love each other the way God desires you to love.
There is an awesome proverb that is one of my favorites that fits perfectly for this.
Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23
If your heart gets polluted with hate, anger and bitterness then what flows from it is polluted, dirty. That life spring flowing from you to others around you will be something that people do not desire and many will turn away from it.
But if, unlike Esau, you earnestly repent those things, then God will forgive you and purify that spring so that His love flows from you, unpolluted and clean, once again.
It is one thing to feel bad about doing something, but God desires repentance and that means to change your way. Esau did not repent and was rejected.
Thank you Lord for being forgiving, help each of us repent any animosity, jealousy, anger, or anything lord that pollutes our hearts. Cleanse and purify us Father and forgive each of us Lord for not being pure in your love. Help us Lord to love others the way You desire us to. In the name of Jesus Christ we ask these things. Amen.