Digging Up the Roots

“Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” Hebrews 12:15

Spring is the time to grow and plant. I love getting my flower beds ready to plant and the promise of beauty springing forth in just a few months. But you know what I really don’t love? Weeds. Seriously, what a bummer.

Yesterday, while I was weeding my flowerbeds, God gave me such a clear picture of what it means to tend my own heart in the same way I tend my garden. I was pulling up dandelion weeds, or should I say trying to. It’d been a while since I’d tried to do this, and what I didn’t remember is that these weeds have major roots that make them very hard to pull up. I finally had to go get a shovel and still I didn’t get the whole root out of the ground several times!

And I know it might sound silly that I just spent a paragraph talking about weeds, but down on my knees with my hands in the dirt, God brought to mind how similarly our sin can so easily take root in the soil of our hearts. Are these baby dandelions causing a ton of harm? Not right now. But what happens if I never try to pull them up? What happens if my whole flower bed gets overtaken with weeds? What happens if my whole yard does?

It’s the same thing in our lives; in Hebrews, Paul tells us to take care of one another, to protect ourselves from the root of bitterness (n: anger and disappointment at being treated unfairly). He reminds us that the little hurts and offenses in our hearts can take root and grow to be big hurts and offenses if we fail to pay attention.

And it’s not just bitterness either; it’s any kind of sin, hurt, lie, you catch my drift. A lot of times what I’d like to do is just pull off the top and cover what is left with dirt. It’s hard work to get the full root out, and life is busy, and wouldn’t it just be easier to call it a day here? But wait! When we just cut the head off of our issues, they grow right back, and likely grow even larger than they were before.

So what do we do? We bring our hurt and disappointment to Jesus. I don’t always do this well, but I’m learning more and more instead of halfway tending to it, what is better for me in the long run is to run to my Savior, ask for his help, and do the work to pull the thing out by the roots. And in its place, something beautiful and good can bloom.

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