Surrounding our small country cottage is a canopy of lovely, mature maple trees, providing us shade from the heat of summer and a beautiful tapestry of color in the fall. But there is that moment every year when I sincerely ponder having those trees felled to the ground. God provides the maple tree seed with a helicopter wing that flies the seed away from the trunk and helps it drill itself into the ground. In early fall, right on time, the whirligigs rain down from the trees onto our lawn, deck, gutters, roof, gravel driveway, hedges, flowers, and even our kitties. As those pesky helicopters begin to germinate, the real nuisance begins. Once those seeds land, a root begins to grow downward, digging deeply, latching on to anything that will provide the seeding with stability. Soon we have some maple seedlings growing EVERYWHERE; that one gorgeous tree has bred hundreds of little ones, saplings that need pulled out by hand before they destroy the landscape, clog the gutters, and run amok amidst the flowers.
If I am not constantly on guard, an unseen, yet poisonous, helicopter seed will invade my life. The writer of Hebrews warns us to look “diligently (inspect closely)…lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” Those deep-seated resentments, unforgivable hurts, and past offenses have a tendency to grow and will eventually suffocate and destroy me if allowed free reign in my life. None of us are immune to the bitter root, for the writer states “lest ANY man fail of the grace of God.” Grace and bitterness cannot coexist; the grace that God displays so richly in my life is diametrically opposed to the bitter, unforgiving feeling I may hold against someone who may have wronged me.
Andrew Stanton is a relatively unknown character in American history. As he gained national attention as a skilled attorney in the mid-1800’s, his path crossed with another relative unknown, Abraham Lincoln. Stanton disliked Lincoln, treating him with considerable rudeness, to the extent that his negative distain for Lincoln became well-known in DC circles. During the election of 1860, Stanton would be a staunch opposer to Lincoln, at one point referring to him as a gorilla. Lincoln narrowly won that election, and in a stunning act of grace, appointed Stanton to the high position of Secretary of War. A man who spoke openly of the imbecility of Lincoln’s new administration would be asked to join that administration. When Lincoln died on April 15, 1865, Stanton was at his bedside, lamenting that Now he (Lincoln) belongs to the ages.
What a tangible example of grace, of not allowing past bitterness to hinder future growth. May I glean from that example and stomp out those pesky helicopters before they root.
Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.
Lord, keep me free from the “root of bitterness.” Keep me instead basking in Your grace and sharing that grace with those around me.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-2632-62b9462a99293' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=2632&origin=wordpress.grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-2632-62b9462a99293' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-2632-62b9462a99293' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>