Scripture: “Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many”
(Hebrews 12:15 NLT).
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,” a green, thirsty bush, absorbs many liters of water as it grows and unfairly competes with valuable food crops. When mature, it dries to an ugly gray, breaks away from its root, and is driven by the prairie winds to tumble across open fields. Everywhere it rolls, the tumbleweed scatters poisonous seeds.
Later, I lived in El Paso, Texas, as an Air Force wife. Our next-door neighbors 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 sure is 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 his tumbleweed many times. How like the spiritual weeds that ruin the landscape of our hearts! Unaware of their deadly nature, we nurture our resentments, water them with gossip, and let them consume our energy and emotions. Eventually they mature into hatred and become bitter weeds that spread their poisonous seeds to all around us.
What spiritual weeds am I feeding? Are old angers allowed to grow and mature into hatred? Is ugly pride revealing itself in my critical judgments of others? Even as Ben needed to dig up the root of the noxious plant, I need to spend time on my knees uprooting ungodly thoughts. I don’t want bitter weeds to ruin the landscape of my life!
Prayer: Father, You are the Master Gardener. Help me identify the weeds of my heart and dig deep to remove them.