It is a curious thing that plants can heal but they can also kill! Basil can cure itches, Sage is good to gargle for sort throats and Mint can be helpful for upset tummies. No wonder then that you will find these in many gardens. Other plants such as Mistletoe, Poinsettia and Aconitum (known as Monksfoot or Wolf’s Bane) can be fatal. They can look so pretty but are less welcome guests in gardens. A weed is defined as a plant in the wrong place – does your garden have any?! Why is it that plants which grow so easily are often unwanted – Bind Weed, Knotweed and Ground Elder? It just takes a tiny root from these plants to spread into a thick mattress that strangles – a bit like bitterness! It’s a root that is very hard to get out and is also very destructive.
- ‘Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host’ – Maya Angelou
- ‘Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness’ – Martin Luther King Jr
- ‘Bitterness and unforgiveness block the flow of God's blessing in your life and actually hinder your prayers’ – Victoria Osteen
- ‘Bitterness imprisons life; love releases it’ – Harry Emerson Fosdick
- ‘I don't have a gardener, because I enjoy pulling weeds. It's hard to explain, but there is something fulfilling about pulling out a weed and knowing that you got all the roots’ – Justin Hartley
You can think you’ve cleared an area of weeds but blink and you’ve missed some. Seeds come wafting in on the breeze or that tiny piece that snapped off rears its ugly head again after a bit of rain. Chasing down a root is hard graft – you’ve got to get down on your knees, put the effort in and remain diligent to keep on top of them. It’s the same for any of us. Imagine being back in the Garden of Eden – no weeds and easy growth. Then along comes ‘The Fall’ and weeds flourish with every kind of bitterness to the human heart. Jesus tells two parables in Matthew 13 about weeds. First comes the parable of The Sower where weeds come to choke good soil and seed. Then he tells the parable of The Weeds in which those horrible weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire by angels in the end time harvest.
Is it any wonder that bitterness is likened to weeds with roots? Appropriately, many poisons have a bitter taste or smell. Water can become bitter, polluted and undrinkable. Bitterness needs rooting out for these destructive properties.
- ‘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’ – Hebrews 12:15
- ‘A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter’ – Revelation 8:11
- ‘Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice’ – Ephesians 4:31
- ‘Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter’ – Isaiah 5:20
If bitterness is not dealt with, it will be dealt with. Jesus’ parable of The Unforgiving Servant in Matthew 18 reveals the link when the bitter servant gets his comeuppance for showing no mercy. We can have help to have bitter roots pulled out before the end time harvest for we are all in danger of this powerful negative emotion through jealousy, disappointment, envy, pain, perceived injustice or a lack of forgiveness.
- ‘Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy’ – Proverbs 14:10
- ‘I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall’ – Lamentations 3:19
- ‘For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin’ – Acts 8:23
- ‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot’ – Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
- ‘There are those who turn justice into bitterness and cast righteousness to the ground’ – Amos 5:7
When an area is cleared of weeds, there is the prospect of fresh planting and a new flourishing. Sweetness in the human heart comes at a high price – you recognise those who have it and know it when you don’t have it yourself. No weed or root in the heart is too difficult for God to remove but it needs us to recognise it for what it is and then an invitation from us to have it removed. It means getting down on the knees to acknowledge the need for there may be bags of the stuff. Once they are out, you’ll be up again with a new spring in your step and a desire to help others lighten their load. Now there’s a joyful circle of life!
TAGS – humility, repentance, forgiveness, pardon, mercy, new start, sin