Broken! The plant hung limply on the side of its pot and by the looks of it someone intentionally broke off its branch. Who could've done this? I had been watering it and telling it to grow (yep, I talk to plants) for a few weeks now and was getting excited that it was growing big, green leaves.
We have a cactus flower called euphorbia milli which I absolutely love. Our Christ plant (so called because of its trunks similarity to Christ's crown of thorns) blooms pink flowers all year round. I had split it into four parts and replanted them all in separate pots.
They survived my amateur gardening skills and thrived after a week. Encouraged, I took particular care of another plant which had started to wither.
I watered it religiously and spoke to it encouragingly so that it will live. After a week, it started to show promise. Its leaves grew and became shiny. I couldn't wait to see how it would look after a few more weeks. Then this morning happened. Its trunk was broken on purpose and was now hanging on its side like an injured arm.
Since Mama was the only person walking in the garden earlier, I asked her if she knew anything about it. "Oh, that plant? I did that because it’s a weed." What?! I had been carefully nurturing a weed in one of our pots these last few weeks! If there had been a course on growing weeds I would’ve passed with top honors. Both of us had a good laugh.
I immediately uprooted it, threw it in the trash, and used the empty pot to replant one of our plants. This time it's not a weed. Mama confirmed it.
Uprooting not tending
My gardening blunder got me thinking of how we at times nurture sin in our life. It may look beautiful or make us feel great but nothing good can come out of it. Sin also wastes much of our time and effort which can otherwise be used for good or for our rest.
While committing the sin we deceive ourselves into thinking that everything will be alright because we’re getting away with it. Harboring a sin instead of dealing with it immediately, leads to destructive and lasting consequences.
Recently, a well-known and beloved minister was revealed to have had a long history of abuse. Some of his staff through the years had brought up his questionable acts to the ministry board but were ignored or sidelined. The leadership chose to side with the minister who they deemed as righteous and upright.
A few months after his death, new allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced which led the board to conduct a third-party investigation. What it revealed shocked the Christian world as details of prolonged acts of sexual misconduct were unearthed from the minister’s personal gadgets.
To date, the ministry has repented and instituted restitution plans. They have downsized and decided to close down their organization and rebrand it as a goodwill and charitable ministry.
Uprooting not tending
Sin if addressed in the nascent stages can easily be stopped and dealt with. If it is nurtured, many people will be affected at a great cost.
We can hide our wrongdoings but because God loves us, He will not allow us to wallow in our transgressions for a long time.
He will warn us a few times giving us a chance to come clean, but if we keep ignoring Him then our sin will be exposed out in the open.
The minister I mentioned earlier was confronted a few times about his questionable acts through the years but he brushed them all aside. A lawsuit was even filed against him a couple of years before his death and instead of repenting, he decided to settle out of court and went ahead with his ministry.
It is unfortunate that in the fallout his wife, children, in-laws, grandchildren, the thousands he mentored, and who’ve watched, listened to, and followed him for decades were deeply hurt.
No number of good things can cover up a sin. In God’s perspective, sin can only be addressed one way – repentance – immediately stop doing it, walk away from it, and not do it ever again. Believe it or not, it is only by God’s grace and love that we’ll be able to overcome the temptation to commit sin. The Holy Spirit will guide us to do things God’s way.
Why is it that people, even followers of Christ, commit sin and try to cover it up in every way they can? I don’t have the exact answer for that but some people do not fully surrender their lives to God. There are also some who have been hurt in the past and are acting out of that hurt.
Then there are those who do not have a clear understanding of God’s love and mercy.
If we truly know how great and deep God’s love is for us, then it will be very difficult and heartbreaking to intentionally sin against Him.
Some people think that God will forgive them anyway so it’s okay to keep sinning (forgetting that God cannot be mocked).
There may be several other reasons but the bottom line is sin is a rebellious act toward God, nothing more, nothing less.
Turning away from sin means living a new life. Everything related to the sinful life are replaced. We no longer live for ourselves but we live for Jesus Christ. After all, He is the reason why we can have forgiveness of our sins and start anew. Without His sacrifice, we’d still be figuring out how to walk away from our sinful past.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” The new life in Christ is guilt-free and baggage free. We’re given a clean slate. Isn’t that wonderful?
Instead of dwelling on our past mistakes and sins, God encourages us to think about things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, of good report, have any virtue, and are praiseworthy. It is deliberate because old habits have a way of creeping up out of nowhere.
I left my grocery cart for a couple of minutes to get my bag of oats. The lady in front of me was still unloading her cart at the checkout counter so I knew it would be several minutes before my turn.
Just as I turned the corner, I saw two women push my cart away from the line with their cart. I quickly grabbed my cart and pushed it right at the counter. The cashier still had a few more items to scan before finishing with the lady in front of me. The women behind me were a little bit surprised that I came up so suddenly.
I was very annoyed that it took a lot of effort to avoid looking at them. Had we made eye contact, the old me would have resurrected, given them the stink eye, and reprimanded them for trying to cut in front of me.
At any moment in our lives, there will be people, situations, actions, and instances that will trigger us to react or respond in the way that we used to. I found that it is tiring and sometimes nerve wracking to have to use much effort to control myself. Responding in love when it’s easier not to requires determination.
I have also found out though that when I start the morning with God in prayer, Bible reading, and meditation, my day is calm. I get centered and He guides me gently to accomplish my tasks and respond to any situation in His way.
Here's the takeaway for the "Weeds 101 course": 1) Uproot any tares in your life to prevent collateral and lasting damage, 2) Let God fill the space left behind - He'll fill it with His love and every good thing, and 3) Live intentionally in love.