Whatever we water in the souls of our hearts will certainly grow. And if we water these “weeds” in the garden of our souls, they will certainly take over and devastate the crop of faith, love, thankfulness, grace, and joy.GRETCHEN SAFFLES
What are the “weeds” that we are unintentionally watering, nurturing or planting in our hearts friends? It can be a difficult question to ask ourselves, and during intimate, personal reflective moments with the Lord, He will often reveal a weed which needs attention.
Sometimes we know it’s there, we are even cultivating the weed or holding onto it dearly because we believe our circumstances excuse the growth of this weed. In these circumstances we require the Lord to correct our wrong thinking. The reality of our faith is that Jesus say’s things such as envy, unrighteous anger, gossip and unforgiveness are all wicked and sinful. When we’ve been sinned against ourselves, our heavy hurt hearts can excuse these emotions – believing them justified or too hard to deal with right now – yet undealt with they grow out of control.
Have you ever noticed how an unmanaged plot of land often contains many types of weeds? The previously empty block across the road from my house is mowed poorly every so often. On the surface it looks clean, tidy and inoffensive, yet within days seedlings of weeds sprout. Within weeks, a variety of weeds have begun to grow. Within another month or two, the plot is an out of control mess of weeds until the owner comes and haphazardly mows again. This repeats. Repeats. And repeats. Instead of taking the necessary time, energy, and help to remove the weeds from the roots, kill the seeds with poison, and truly start fresh, my neighbour burdens himself relentlessly doing a “cosmetic fix” instead of a deep, plot transforming fix.
Aren’t our hearts just like this plot? A friend says something which hurts us so we secretly hold onto unforgiveness instead of extending the same grace Jesus offers us to our friend. When the unforgiveness grows, seeds of gossip begin to grow as we “confide” in another (but really it’s just slander) about the hurtful thing which was said or done. And so what was one weed, is now many… and growing rapidly as our sinful hearts justify the weeds.
This may not always be the case. Sometimes we may have been gifted new eyes to see, to remove the unseen weed, and care for our souls in a way which prevents it from seeding again. Have you ever experienced that faithful “ouch” moment as a friend lovingly directs your attention to something you could not see yourself and points out your sin? Over the years I’ve come to cherish those moments. I don’t want to live stuck in a place, nourishing and cultivating weeds in my heart – when others see it so clearly. I’m grateful to my sisters who draw my attention to these areas, and prayerfully and practically work alongside me to help eradicate the weed from my heart.
Other times when we are deeply troubled, traumatised, betrayed and broken, we see the weed and we know it’s there. The roots are thick and deep from pain and distress. We hide the weed from others in our shame or misery. We try all the things unsuccessfully. We walk around pretending were good, knowing deep down nothing is ok. But eventually, we cry out to God to help us eradicate it, knowing it’s only with His love and strength that we can. It may be an on-going process taking years or even decades when the hurt is deep or life-altering. In these circumstances, the Holy Spirit is our gardener, honouring our desire to be unburdened and slowly but surely working towards our restoration and pure hearts.
Friends, whatever is growing in our hearts is important. We will indeed reap what we sow. Today with the Holy Spirits help, let’s sow seeds of love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self control and goodness, even when it’s hard, undeserved, or a life-long journey of restoration. In this way, we will be transformed into the image of Christ.