For the last year, I have been periodically working on relieving a poor Crape Myrtle tree near our driveway. It has been overrun by a fast-growing, thorny, climbing vine. The weight of the thorn-covered vines have caused the branches of this beautiful tree to droop to the point of nearly breaking. So last spring I began to cut away these vines, pruning off the ones I could reach, cutting away at the many bases of the evil weeds. The hopes of saving this tree drove me to endure many pokes, pricks and bloody cuts from these thorns, which fought back with a vengeance.
Today I revisited this tree, nearly 6 months after the last pruning. Half of the deadened thorns still cling to the tops and center of this tree because they are out of my reach. Although I have cut the bases so they would eventually dry out and die, these thorns are still fighting back with determination. They do not easily let go of their prey, and even though they are somewhat dried out, their thorns still catch on my clothing and dig in to my exposed skin. Many cries of pain, torn clothes and bloody hands later (no, I did not wear gloves, silly me), I decided my trimming for the day was done.
What is amazing about these spiky thorns is that even though they are technically dead and relatively dried out, they are still extremely sharp. Their curved tips catch and cut, digging in. They still serve their purpose of causing pain to the one that attempts to remove them. The danger remains very real as they are a hazard and potentially still harmful.
“…the enemy who showed them (the weeds) is the devil…”
There are always consequences of our sin.
With some sins, even though we have removed them from our life, there remains a part of them that can still come back and hurt us. Let’s call that the “consequences”.
When someone robs a bank, they are caught and the judge sentences them to prison. Even if they return all of the money and apologize, there are still consequences. This is a part of the law.
I have heard of individuals committing murder, but the family of the victim forgiving the murderer of his crime. In spite of the family forgiving him, the law states the murderer still has to pay for his crime, so off to prison he goes.
“David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.'”
2 Samuel 12:13-14
Even with fasting and seeking God on behalf of the innocent child, seven days later, it died. This was the consequence of David’s sin of murdering Uriah the Hittite in order to take Uriah’s wife as his own.
My friends, this is a heavy topic, but my purpose today is to help us see the need to pause for a moment before we make a bad decision. If the evil one is tempting you in an area that you struggle with, and area that appears beautiful on the outside, remember that there will be painful consequences if you give in. Those thorns will hang around, continually scratching and wounding you long after you think they are no longer a threat. They may affect your marriage, your job, or your children and their future. Is it worth it? Will the temporary satisfaction outweigh the potential consequences?
“Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually.”
1 Chronicles 16:11
Food for thought: The best treatment plan for weeds that infiltrate your garden is to pull them out regularly. Don’t ignore them and let their roots grow deep and certainly don’t allow them to spread to other areas. Yes, this relates to those thorny thistles that invade our Christian walk too.
(For another perspective on weeds, see my blog titled “Weeds stunt growth like sin does”.)
Fun facts: Rose-thorn (or Rose-Gardener’s) Disease is a fungus that infects someone after being pricked by a contaminated thorn. The fungus can spread to the lymphatic system and move on to the joints and bones, where it attacks the central nervous system and lungs.
Photo by: Andrey Grinkevich – Thorns