Romans 12:25-21(NRSV)

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly;  do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God;  for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.   

Hebrews 12:15 (NRSV)

15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and through it many become defiled.   

DEVOTION – Shirley Myers (New York)

After examining the moss rose I had planted again this year, I was not disappointed.  The roses in all their varied colors had burst into bloom.  These lovely flowers had never failed to spread out quickly to fill my flower patch.

Then I took a closer look to see that some of the space was filled with a weed that looked a lot like the moss rose, but they are real troublemakers and difficult to pull out.  After I cleaned out the flower patch, I had to watch for those nasty weed to spring up again.  They weren’t finished making trouble for me!

The Bible tells about a weed, bitterness, that – if allowed to grow and develop in our lives – will cause us lots of trouble.  If bitterness takes hold, we will use words that hurt  others instead of helping and healing them.  The only way to get rid of bitterness is to pull it out by the root.  And to do that, we need God’s help.  When we ask God to clean bitterness from our lives, we must watch and pray, or it might spring up again.  Removing bitterness allows love and forgiveness to spread and makes life beautiful again.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Tending the garden of life with prayer will produce the blooms of a beautiful spirit.

PRAYER: O God, take away our bitterness and replace it with love and kindness.  May your love spread to those around us.  Amen.