A few months ago, a friend and I passed a yard filled with flowers while we were out running an errand. She told me that, before moving to Virginia, she also lived in a home with luxurious landscaping and lovely flowers. In fact, she and her husband fell in love with the property because of the beautiful flowers and plants surrounding it. But after they bought the house, they found themselves spending hours each weekend pulling weeds and tending to their “breathtaking” yard. In the Georgia heat, with sweat dripping off their faces, chances are the gorgeous yard they fell in love with didn’t have quite the same appeal as it did at first.
Years ago, a weed grew outside our home which I affectionately named “Felix” … and Felix was huge! In no time, this crazy weed grew from beneath one of our brushes clear up to our gutters! My friend, Robin, had her picture taken with it. It was so impressive I had a hard time getting rid of it. (Word to the wise: do not name weeds, bugs, or anything else you will eventually have to kill. ~smile~)
Are you not amazed at how quickly a small weed can turn into a giant weed? It reminds me of how quickly a small lie can turn into a monstrous lie! Weeds are not only unsightly, but they can choke out the flowers you are trying to grow. The last element any good gardener wants in his or her flower bed is weeds.
Weeds form in relationships when bitterness is allowed to take root. Let’s say your boyfriend says something which hurts your feelings, but instead of confronting him on it in love, you bury it and pretend it isn’t there. That is when unforgiveness takes root and turns to bitterness. Bitterness is a weed that will grow at an exponential rate and choke your relationship.
Flowers bring us beauty. It’s hard to stay in a bad mood when you are surrounded by beautiful roses, colorful tulips, and whimsical daisies. Flowers represent happiness, love, and caring. We give flowers to show affection, express sympathy to others, and simply to brighten someone’s day. Unlike weeds, flowers take a while to bloom. Sometimes we have to plant and water flowers long before we can enjoy their beauty.
Compare flowers to the joys in your relationship – the hugs, the inside jokes, the laughter, the intimate discussions, and your hopes for the future. It takes time, attention, and care for your relationship to bloom and all it takes is one or two weeds left unattended to choke out all the flowers you have worked so long to plant, water, and preserve.
No marriage can survive if weeds are ignored and take over. Even now, while you are still dating, make a habit of checking your relational garden for weeds daily. If you are angry with each other, confront the situation. Don’t yell, throw accusations, or let your temper guide your thinking, but look each other in the eyes and discuss your pain and anger. Don’t let it fester. Rip those weeds out of your garden.
Just as the couple above found their yard less appealing when they were working to maintain it in the sweltering heat, there will be times when your sweetheart is not as appealing to you as he or she was at first. That is because people are human and relationships take work. Sometimes the work is enjoyable and other times it is grueling – but there will always be work. So, when you are toiling through rough ground, think about how nice it will be to sit on the porch with a glass of tea and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Tending a garden is hard work, but the end result is a thing of beauty!
Before bed each night, check your heart and ask God to bring any hidden roots of bitterness to your mind. Repent of holding onto unforgiveness and ask Him for the strength and grace to rip those weeds out of your life. Weeds that have been given the chance to grow tall can also be incredibly strong. The same is true with our bitterness. When we let it stay in the garden, it can become so thick and robust that it feels impossible to remove. But nothing is impossible with God. He is the ultimate weed killer and landscaper. Turn those weeds over to Him, let them go, and continue to tend your garden daily.
Keeping a garden clean and alive takes work, but it’s worth it! Happy gardening!
Are there relational weeds growing in your garden?