As I was watering the garden yesterday, I was frustrated by multiple things.
Despite all our efforts, the tomato plants 🍅 are continuing to die from the ground up. I lost three more watermelons 🍉 and realized one of the plants is also dying at its root. My cucumbers 🥒 continue to produce, but I lost an entire plant I have been nurturing for weeks.
As I tossed my largest to date rotten watermelon 🍉 out to pasture from the dying plant, I flashed back to a message I received this summer that relates to another dying relationship.
“I know you see him as a good person, but I don’t. He doesn’t want to make things better.”
I responded, “I see him as a broken person with good inside of him. But there are a lot of roots that run deep that need healing…”
The fact is, we are all broken people. In our quest to hide our brokenness, or in our unwillingness to identify and fix it, we often hurt others.
I challenge you to think of any relationship problem you have right now and not be able to find it’s root in Mark 7:21-23 which reads, “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
As I pondered this, I thought about the cucumbers we picked after being on vacation for a week. We didn’t care for them properly, and they were bitter. We threw them away. As we started to give them the water they needed again in proper amounts, our next harvest was divine.
Like cucumbers, when things aren’t nurtured properly, bitterness grows in the human heart. Overtime, bitterness can become so overwhelming that it blinds us to the possibility of reconciliation. Our pride prevents us from letting go of the past. That leads to other sins.
Ephesians 4:31 reads, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”
But how do you get rid of it, especially if you’ve harbored it for a long time? Hebrews and Proverbs both give good advice.
Hebrews 12:15 reads, “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
Proverbs 4:23 reads, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Look inside your heart. Where is the bitterness coming from that has destroyed relationships around you (at home, at work, at church, in the community)? What roots do you need to nurture on your end to fix your own brokenness? How can you become a nurturer for those broken around you?
Psalm 139:23-24 reads, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
We are all broken. You can choose to harbor hate and bitterness from those who have wronged you, or you can choose to be a guiding light helping them fix the roots that are destroying their heart … while working on your own roots, too.