As a kid growing up in the Oklahoma Panhandle, I became very familiar with the dry, thorny tumbleweeds that blocked fences, roads, and empty buildings. The “Russian thistle” begins as a green, thirsty bush that absorbs many liters of water as it grows, competing with valuable food crops. Then, when mature, the weed dries to an ugly grey color, breaks away from its root, and is driven by the prairie winds to tumble across open fields. Everywhere it rolls, it scatters its poisonous seeds.
Later, I lived in El Paso, Texas, as an Air Force wife. Our neighbors, Ben and Beth Cooper, were very nice folks from Kentucky who tried to bring the beauty of their native state with them. Ben watered his lawn regularly, but I noticed he failed to pull the large green tumbleweed in the corner of their yard. I finally walked over to drop a gentle hint. “Ben, that thing is sure getting big.”
He nodded. “Yeah. I don’t know what it is. I fertilize it and water it regularly, and it’s doing real well.”
I was too surprised to reply, and too polite to tell him his mistake. But I have thought of that weed many times. We nurture our resentments, watering them with gossip, and let them absorb our energy and emotions. Eventually they mature into hatred and become bitter weeds that spread their poisonous seeds throughout our environment.
The answer is, of course, to keep alert for negative reactions and critical judgments that can turn into these weeds of bitterness that scatter corruption throughout our families and churches. Yank them from your heart as soon as you recognize them! Let God’s good fruit of peace and joy fill your thoughts instead.
Scripture: “Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many”
(Hebrews 12:15 NLT).