Friday, September 28, 2012
Her words pinched. She did not mean for them to do so. I had made a statement, commenting on another situation, and she applied them to me.
I hear some bitterness in that statement.
Those are the words she said to me.
They were couched in a half-joking tone. But they stopped me. My gut reaction was surely not? I kept thinking of her observation; I was appalled by the maybe-truth of it and pricked by her honest candor.
When I tried to pull her words from the ground soil of my heart—they resisted. There were roots of truth there I had to acknowledge. An undetected shoot sent into the deep places of my heart.
At first, I thought she can not be right. I have let go of bitterness; I dug those roots up long ago. And I know about roots. I know how deep they can descend and how much dirt, soil and earth can be disturbed, turned and moved when you pull the root up and out.
I have pulled up a lot of bitter roots. Some were shallow, only in the surface soil. Some had only one long tap root and slid straight out of the dirt. Several, however, were so deep I sat down on my backside with the pulling.
Sometimes even now when I am ready to plant something new—excavating a deep depression to accommodate a new variety —I will find a root left behind from the last digging. I can see where the root has been cleaved by a shovel in an attempt to remove it. But it remained.
Bitterness goes deep.
My daughter’s words were said as a simple observation, but the Spirit used them to prick me gently. Just enough for one drop of blood to blister to the surface—enough to remind me that a root of bitterness can grieve the heart of God.
Bitterness has no place in the heart of a Christ-follower. Bitterness impedes the working grace of the Spirit. Bitterness’ dormancy seems benign, but its root and tendrils must be exposed and removed because bitterness and grace will not co-exist.
The prick and the blister woke me.
The convex curve of that dark red drop caused me to examine the residual roots in the soil of myself. That dark red drop has become the curved back of the shovel I need to use.
At least it is raining today--the soil will be moist and soft. And my garden gloves are in the laundry room.