How Does Your Garden Grow?

ImageOne of the most ugly attitudes you can ever have is the attitude of bitterness. I think it happens when a person has a “hole in their sole” and when it isn’t filled to their liking they dislike and cannot be happy for anyone else. I have seen it in operation and it literally makes me sick to my stomach. What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you be gracious when someone else is happy, or has whatever it is you wish you were in possession of? Where does it start? Can you even remember why you are afraid of the dark, or shiver when someone raises his or her voice? What makes you dislike a person when you first meet them, without knowing anything about them, except their name and how they look? These things are the outgrowth of a root planted long ago, so long ago that you forgot when it was even planted, and sometimes we do remember, we just don’t want, or are too embarrassed to, admit it.  For years there was a certain type of person that I just could not stand to be around. I would have an immediate dislike for them without their ever having done anything against me. One day I realized that this particular type of person was the face of someone who was a terrible bully. There have been news stories and talk shows dedicated to the subject, and it always gets to my heart. No one deserves to be mistreated, called names, made fun of for any reason, at all. This root had been planted in me from the time I was 7 through 9; it had time to take root and grow and has popped up all through my adult life. I have bared my soul to you, now I ask of you; can you identify YOUR root of bitterness? Hebrews 12:15 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. You can’t help what happened to you as a child, or adult, but you can help the way you react to it. My folks always told us, “Two wrongs don’t make a right”.  Ephesians 3:14-19 My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. The King James says “And I pray that you be rooted and grounded in love”. This is a root that you want to take hold, the root of love. The wrong root can cause terrible damage! We had a beautiful driveway, at one time, but the trees growing beside it, have grown so much in the last 32 years, that the roots have broken up that cement and now it looks like an earthquake has hit it! The damage wasn’t done over night, it wasn’t pounded on with a sledgehammer, it was just pressure from underneath, pressure that wouldn’t let up, it just kept pushing and pushing until the concrete gave up, and broke into pieces. When the trees were small, we could have cut or moved them and saved the damage. Identify the root inside of you that is pressing you harder than you can withstand, identify it and cut it down, before you crack and break. Think back over bitter things you have said to others, if those same things were said to you would you take it quietly? It doesn’t look any better when you do it than it does on the person you are sending that “zing” toward. Try being gracious, happy for someone else and that happiness will be returned to you! If you can’t do it alone, find help, a pastor, a friend, a doctor, and when all of those fail, what about Jesus? An old hymn says “Take it to the Lord in Prayer”, another says “What a Friend We Have in Jesus, all our sins and grief’s to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.” Next thing is to make sure that the roots you are planting in your own children are roots of love, friendship, encouragement, because the “beat” tends to go on and on. You can break the cycle of bitter roots that were planted in you by changing yourself! Let the Word of God be the weed killer for the sad or evil roots in you! Go out and buy a weed-eater!

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