The Paradox for Harvest
It’s a paradox. For a good harvest, do you work at pulling out the weeds or invest time and money planting seeds? Which is most important? Both are necessary for any gardens, whether it be mushrooms or mums, squash or sunflowers, or peas or pumpkins.
Maybe it’s time to focus on the germination of seeds, thus encouraging and cultivating the growth of sustenance. Pulling weeds cleans out a garden, but unless we plant something in its place, there is nothing to show except barren emptiness. That’s when the danger of re-surfacing is real. A tilled-up soil that lies fallow is a prime place for weeds to dominate. That’s how it is with us. We must get rid of those weeds, but that’s not enough. We must also fill that soil with seeds that will bring a good harvest.
There are a few verses in Ephesians that give direction on how to do this. I’ve always known those verses were there, and I’ve memorized them and recognized the danger of bitterness. Both in my own life and the lives of others, I’ve experienced the blight of bitterness – and it’s not fun. These verses speak specifically about plagues such as anger, bitterness, malice, and evil speaking.
A Harvest from Focus
I’ve also discovered something else in this scripture. It is called Focus.
I can spend my days focusing on what is wrong and determining not to become like that person, or not to do things like this person. My focus, in actuality, is on the negative, which leaves me feeling and acting contrary as well.
How about doing a 360 on this one? How about focusing on cultivating what is good, right, and true? How about, instead of wallowing in our anger and bitterness over past mistakes or hurts, we focus instead on producing kindness, tenderness, and forgiveness, especially to the person who has brought pain?
It doesn’t mean we haven’t been hurt, nor does it mean we have not been wronged. It doesn’t negate consequences or sentencing by our court system.
It simply means that the burden of grudge-bearing is gone because the focus has changed. Instead of doing strength-training so we can continue to bear the weight of bitterness, anger, malice, and evil speaking, how about dropping that weight?
A Harvest from Kindness
How about beginning, instead, with kindness?
How about becoming stronger by forgiving and being kind to those who have caused me pain? Get rid of the weeds. Plant something better in its place!
It’s possible. Ephesians 4:31 and 32 says so.
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
You know something? Planting these seeds can actually be fun, especially when we are doing it for Jesus, who forgives us daily. Try it. Instead of focusing on (or trying not to focus on) the pain, be intentional.
For today, plant kindness and tenderness. Watch for the harvest! The fruit of those seeds will bring forgiveness. You’ll see.
That, my friends, is a bountiful harvest!