This is part two of a 3-part series. To view the previous post, click here.
I am an amateur gardener. Growing vegetables is not my strong point. I live in a harsh climate with extreme heat, low humidity and high winds. It’s hard to grow vegetables, though herbs and weeds seem to thrive.
I have learned a few things about gardening:
- Soil is important. It needs good fertilizer or else the plants will be less robust and the vegetables or fruit will contain fewer minerals.
- A good layer of mulch suppresses weeds & retains moisture. A good gardener keeps a good mulch layer and regularly replenishes the soil.
- Keep out weeds. Weeds choke out the good plants and deplete the soil of necessary nutrients.
So, you may be asking what this has to do with the price of eggs, or, more importantly, having good relationships with God and man. Yesterday, we talked about haters, or more particularly people who are supposed to be allies but are actually enemies. As a quick recap, Jesus and Paul told us that we are to bless those who curse us. It’s so much easier said than done!
There is another aspect of dealing with haters that we need to address: bitterness.
I want you to think of your mind and heart as a garden. Our character traits are sown in the soil of our heart. They grow over time as we nurture them and feed the soil with the replenishing, nourishing word of God. We lay down a thick layer of faith to suppress weeds and retain what God supplies us each day.
Unfortunately, like any garden, the good productive plants can get choked by weeds if they are neglected.
Bitterness is a weed whose seed is sown by cruelty, fertilized by anger and nurtured by resentment.
Bitterness takes over a heart like an invasive weed. When we are young, we can conceal that weed really well, but as we grow older and our strength fades, that bitter weed will—after years and years of free reign—choke out whatever good characteristics had previously been growing there.
The deadly danger of bitterness is that it is often concealed. People harbor bitterness for years and even their closest friends may be none the wiser.
The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy.
~Proverbs 14:10 ESV
But be warned: that concealed bitterness will sap all the nutrients in your soil. It will cause your good traits to become infected with disease. If bitterness is allowed to take root, it will destroy all the fruits of the spirit you are trying to grow in the garden of your heart.
Have you ever known an old person who is bitter and their every word is poison? They allowed too many people to sow seeds of bitterness in their hearts. Their bitterness didn’t come upon them suddenly. It is the culmination of a lifetime of pain and injury. They allowed it to take root and encouraged it to grow using full-proof anger-gro fertilizer and a thick layer of resenta-mulch.
Forgiveness is like pulling weeds. When we forgive, we uproot and toss away bitterness, allowing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control to flourish in the soil of our hearts.
Do not permit others to plant bitterness within you. If they throw those seeds in your garden, tear them out immediately!! Lay down a thick layer of mulch so they cannot grow.
Do not give power to the haters.
Tear out those weeds of bitterness before they take root in your heart.
I implore you to remember that the Lord, He is God. If you truly believe in God’s great power, then believe that He is strong enough to tear out the bitterness from your heart. Weeding out the bitterness is a team effort though. God won’t barge in and start tearing it out, He wants to be invited first. He will help us if we simply ask.
Don’t count on your own strength to forgive your enemies. Ask the Lord to help you. Through obedience to God we can accomplish the impossible.
See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled…
~ Hebrews 12:15 ESV
Press on to know the Lord. Press on to be like Christ.
Lord willing, tomorrow we will examine the greatest weapon we can use to conquer the haters.