Last year, we were so focused on doing projects inside of our fixer upper, it was well into July before I started working on a particular section of our yard.
By the time I started pulling out and cutting back all of those unwanted vines and shoots, it was so overwhelming that I quit halfway through. The weeds had choked the plants around it, causing an explosion of prickly sprouts, poison sumac, and poison ivy. Then, the yellow jackets moved in, making ground nests.
It was nearly impossible to get anywhere near the area.
At my lowest point, I had a large section of my left leg covered in poison sumac, spots on my right arm scratched from thrones, and yellow jacket stings (yes, that’s plural) all down my back where a particular feisty one got into my shirt.
Those little annoying things HATE me.
Like I said, it wasn’t my best day.
This year, as the snow melts and the growing season begins again, I’m getting in there and uprooting a few seemingly harmless weeds before they multiply into a few hundred problems.
Weeds left to grow will always grow.
I know. It sounds so simple.
But, how many times do we tell ourselves that ignoring a negative past experience will make it go away?
How many times do we justify bad behavior (in our life or someone else’s) because resolving the issue requires rolling up our sleeves and getting messy?
15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. ~Ephesians 4:14-15
Part of building each other up in love is speaking the truth in love when we recognize that something not of God has begun to take root.
14Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. ~Hebrew 12:4-5
We cannot just treat the symptoms. We have to dig down deep and pull out the roots.
Heeding life-giving correction, whether through conviction from Holy Spirit or honest words from another believer, is fundamental to our spiritual growth and the overall health of the Body of Christ.
31Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise. 32Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding. 33Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor. ~Proverbs 15:31-33
In the same way, we need to care enough about those within our church community to give life-giving correction as well.
17As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. ~Proverbs 27:17
However, before you get ready to sharpen someone else’s iron, remember this: All correction should be done at the appropriate time, in the appropriate place, and with lots of love and grace.
It’s okay to ask for help.
There’s always a “why” behind the things we say and the way we react to things. Negative past experiences, immaturity, or even stress can poison how we treat ourselves and others.
Talking to a spiritually mature pastor, ministry leader, or counselor can be an eye-opening and productive way to get an objective opinion of our behavior. We may not even realize that we’ve been acting differently until someone lovingly brings it to our attention.
Having the courage and the humility to seek help means correcting our behavior before we become someone else’s “why.”
Ultimately, only Jesus can fully heal us.
It isn’t until we fully surrender everything to Christ, that we finally experience healing in those places that we’d rather not admit even exists.
My friend, you are not alone. We all have our weeds and thorny vines.
Allowing Jesus to uproot a few weeds in us today, will prevent a hundred roots of poison from growing in us tomorrow.