Monday, May 02, 2005

Weeds in the Back Yard

Yesterday Linda and I were in our back yard digging up weeds. This is a difficult thing to do if 1) you're not used to it and 2) you've let them populate for a while. We decided to attack our back yard with the best "Weed and Feed" product we could buy. It killed most of the weaker weedy grass we had back there...but these weeds that are left not only are aggressive, they are hardy too.

The only way to get rid of these weeds is to actually get a spading fork and dig them up by hand. Not only did I have to dig up underneath them, but then we had to get on our knees and actually pull up the root (which had tangled up with the roots of our good grass), and then knock off the clump of dirt that was packed around the roots. It's a tedious and difficult process.

I commented that our front yard looked great, and I was glad we didn't have these in our front yard.... all of a sudden I realized a spiritual truth. Our front yard is what our neighbors see... they never see the back, so for all they know we have a perfect backyard too. Linda commented, "This is where we actually spend our time", (in the back).

Weeds represent sin. If we allow them to grow, they entangle their roots in the fertile soil of our hearts and lives and also with the roots of the good things we have planted. They eventually choke out the good grass and take all the nutrients out of the soil. All of a sudden we find our hearts overtaken by things that are difficult to get rid of.

The "neighbors" (our coworkers, church family, friends, etc.) only see our "front" yard. Few people, except those really close to us, ever see the "back" yard. Most people assume that our lives are fine, because they only get to see what we show them from the "front". They don't see the things we keep hidden...those secret places in our hearts that only we know about.

Repentance is spiritual weed killer. It gets rid of some of the sin in our lives simply because we begin to change the environment (soil) in which we have allowed it to grow. It simply dies. But there is some sin that has aggressively taken hold in our lives. It requires the painful process of digging deep, getting on our knees and untangling the root system from the soil and the good things in our lives. It is also a process of taking care of one at a time, one section at a time. It may take days, weeks, months or even a lifetime of digging and separating.

One other thing I noticed... where the weeds were, there are now holes in our ground. It will take a while to fill the holes and for the grass to grow back. It's unsightly and needs to be tended to. Uprooting sin sometimes leaves a hole that needs to be filled in. We may feel wounded, empty, or ashamed because we're scarred. The good news is, that if we allow God to restore us, He will.

Recently, my daughter brought up something she knew about me that I thought I had kept hidden. It was about something that happened a couple of years ago, and I have since repented. But I never dealt with it and it has been the cause of shame and guilt in my life. Now that it has been exposed, Linda and I have been able to talk about it and deal with it. Hopefully my daughter has forgiven me.

It's time to look in the backyard of your soul. Time to get back there and pull up those weeds we keep hidden. God knows what the back yard looks like... and His grace is sufficient to fill in the wounds and scars that getting rid of the sin will create. While it is a process that may be difficult and painful, it is not an impossible one. It may require help to get rid of the more aggressive stuff... but go for it. The process and work is well worth it.

1 comment:

Anne said...

Paul,
Thanks for the reminder. Very good point and great spiritual analogy! Thanks for your honesty and humility.