Garden of the Soul
"Then God said, 'Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.' And it was so."
We reap the seeds we sow--according to their various kinds.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV
Sowing the truth of God's Word with love, grace, and patience will produce peace, joy, and contentment.
If we plant anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness in our hearts, we reap weeds, thorns, and invasive vines that choke out any good seeds and prevent our souls from bearing fruit.
This week I failed to sow love, patience, or grace with someone who is struggling. This struggle has gone on for many years. Choices have made the struggles worse. Behavior that affects me tested my patience to its breaking point this time.
While the Holy Spirit lives in me, Satan still hovers around me. While my reaction was not unwarranted or mean-spirited, it wasn't sown in love, patience, or grace. It was sown in anger, frustration, and judgment.
What I reaped from this was retaliating anger, blame, and alienation.
Some say, Good! Be done with that person at last. And honestly, part of me says that too.
But that's not what God says. He says to forgive seventy times seven. Over many years, it feels like I've already done that. Regardless, God isn't saying to stop at four hundred and ninety.
Ironically, or not so ironically in God's omniscient plan, my anger was stirred over that very thing: this person's unforgiveness. Bringing up old hurts instead of moving forward. Dwelling on pain rather than letting go and allowing oneself to heal.
And dragging the rest of us into that anger, hurt, and bitterness over and over again when we're trying to move past it and create a positive, loving response to the pain of loss. Lashing out in anger doesn't make any of us feel any better. And it certainly won't bring back those we have lost.
So now what?
Rather than consider the weeds in this person's soul, I need to focus on the weeds in my own.
I'm still praying about that. I know I need to ask forgiveness. I need to respond in love, patience, and grace. I need to acknowledge the unrelenting pain this person has endured. Admittedly, it's worse than my own. Those hardest to love, need it the most.
Will I be forgiven? Will reaching out be accepted or rejected? Will any of it make a difference?
I don't know. But I have to try. Because this time, it's on me. It's my turn to forgive.
I need to tend to the garden of my own soul in order to help others grow healthy gardens.
May you also sow a fertile garden of good seeds and reap a harvest of abundant fruit.
May God bless you and yours,
"I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor." 1 Corinthians 3:6-8
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