Have you ever smelled something disgusting that seemed to be rotting? Our natural reaction is to get to the root of the rot and take care of it.

What if the rot is something emotional and internal? An old resentment or grudge? A hidden sin issue? Pain from the past that you can’t let go of?

I came across a devotional by Lysa Terkeurst that really addressed the idea of getting to the root of rot wonderfully on crosswalk.com:

“How we react is a crucial gauge of what’s really going on inside us. A little rot can spread fast and furiously if not dealt with swiftly and seriously. And unhealed hurt often becomes unleashed hurt spewed out on others.

That’s why it’s so crucial to pay attention to our reactions and look for indicators of hidden bitterness as we ask the Lord to point out harmful attitudes in our hearts today.

Here are some telltale signs of this particular root of rot:

  • I throw out statements like, “You always … You never … Why can’t we ever?”
  • I start gathering ammunition from past situations to build my case.
  • I use words and a tone outside my normal character.
  • I snap and explode on other people whose offenses don’t warrant that kind of reaction.
  • I justify my reaction by pointing out how hard my life is right now.
  • I make passive-aggressive statements to prove a point.
  • I demand an apology, all the while knowing I should be giving one.
  • I feel skepticism that most people can’t be trusted and cynicism about the world in general.

Please know … when people or issues or situations bump into our happy, it’s not wrong to feel annoyed. But if that annoyance leads to a reaction out of proportion to the issue at hand, we can bank on the fact that there’s unaddressed pain at the root of our eruption. As my counselor Jim Cress says, “If our reaction is hysterical, it is historical.”

These indicators are not fun to admit, but we can’t address what we don’t acknowledge. And here’s the beauty of the situation: The quicker we see a root of rot, the quicker we can invite God in to help us address our pain, heal our heart and get rid of the stink. We can make sure not one bit of the hurt done to us is multiplied back out by us.”

Do you struggle with any rot that is growing and creating a stink in your life? If so, it’s time to dig in to the roots and clean things up. God doesn’t want us to live in bondage and carry all these heavy burdens around. We can live in freedom and forgiveness- just as we have been forgiven by Him.