Sunday, December 30, 2012

Big 'ole Ugly Tree

I remember a day a few weeks ago when my four year old son fell and skinned his knee. He came to me crying and looking for comfort from his mama. But when I tried to look at it to clean and bandage it, he hid his knee from me and wouldn't let me see it. The Lord reminded me of this a week or two after it happened, and just like He has done so many times with my kids, he taught me some things about myself.
I have wounds that I have hidden from the Lord just like my son hid his wound from me. I have trusted people in my life and given them my heart, but in return they have hurt me and caused me pain which has left me guarding my bruised, wounded heart. I have kept it hidden out of fear; fear of being hurt again, and fear of anyone knowing that it is even there. These wounds were caused from other people sinning against me. They were not wounds that I did anything to cause nor did I deserve them. But I was still afraid to uncover my wounds and let my Great Physician tend to them.
So I kept them covered.
And just like an open wound that is not tended to, my wounds just got worse. Infection set in and I grew hard and calloused. I wouldn't let anyone near me, and like a wounded animal growls at the person who tries to help it, I would snap at those who loved me the most.
Then desire when it is conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. James 1:15
People had allowed their desires to give birth to sin in my life and as that sin grew, I was slowly dying inside. Because of that sin that was (figuratively) birthed into me by other people, a tree was growing in me that was producing the fruit of more sin. The fruit of the Spirit of God is spoken of in Galatians 5:13 and that is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. This is not what was coming from my life. My life more closely matched the verses that come before that list, and what I could identify in those verses that was sprouting forth in my life was hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, dissension, and envy. So even though I was going to church and I appeared to be a "good Christian girl" my life was not the model of what Christ wants for His followers. In fact if you read on in Galatians it says that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. OUCH! Because I refused to let Jesus cleanse my sins, I was keeping myself from such an enormous blessing: God's Kingdom. God wants me to be His little princess in His Kingdom, but I can't do that with a huge tree of sin growing out of my heart.
So finally I let go of it and Jesus removed that tree. He even dug deep to remove the roots that had pushed their way into every area of my life. Jesus died on a tree to remove the sins from my life that were producing bad fruit so that I could be grafted into His Family Tree!
I am the vine and you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit. John 15:5
After He did this He began to whisper to my heart to forgive those who had originally hurt me. "What? Why God? Forgive them?? But what they did was horrible, how can I forgive them?" was my reply. Then he reminded me that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world as is says in Ephesians 6:12. And the hurt that I received was due to the sins that were committed against them that had given birth to death and bad fruit in their lives, too. He told me that if I could forgive them that it would do a number of things:
1. Release me from the pain that it caused me every time I thought about it.
2. Allow me to pray for them and develop a love for them.
3. Stop this continuous cycle of hurt from happening to others.
4. He showed me that forgiveness does not excuse what they did. What they did was sin and it was wrong, but it allows me to have peace to know that God is in control and that He will work all things together for my good as it says in Romans 8:28.
Through forgiveness I have found so much peace. I have begun to love people in my life in a way I didn't think I could. There are still some who have hurt me that I keep at a healthy distance and until I see a healing in their lives they will stay there, but I am no longer angry or hurt by them. They don't control me or cloud my view of my King. I now produce the Good Fruit and His Light is able to shine in me and through me.
Do you have a big ugly sin tree growing in your life? Are you chained by unforgiveness? Ask Him to deliver you and He is so faithful, He will do it!!
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that whosoever should believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

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