Anybody who has a garden also has weeds: things growing where they weren’t planted and threatening to take over. Left alone, weeds will spread like a cancer to choke the life from favored flowers. My overgrown gardens are proof.
No matter how much digging we do, how much Round-up we spray or how heavily we mulch, weeds persist. They may go dormant and wait for the right conditions to manifest themselves. They may so closely resemble flowers we can hardly separate the two, much like tares among wheat.
For me, weeds are a type of sin: ever present, opportunistic, destructive.
At Easter, we left a bleak North Carolina for parts South. Returned a week later to find the weather had warmed, pollen clouds had advanced and previously buried peonies stood two feet above ground. The weeds stood equally tall.
Those weeds were attractive — at first. The dandelions, perennial broadleaf weeds, showed lovely yellow flowers. Field garlic sported little greenish-white flowers. The common milkweed presented round purple-white flowers that smelled sweet. I wasn’t fooled.
Just as there is pleasure in sin for a season, the weed’s beauty fades in time. The dandelions in my yard produced feathery balls that blew away to reseed themselves and curse the ground. The garlic stunk; the prickly milkweed cut the hand that attempted its uprooting. Weeds, like sin, resist eradication. Poison ivy is a classic example.
Dealing with weeds, and the sin that so easily ensnares us, requires vigilance. What works in the garden can benefit the soul:
- Destroy the root — The above-ground fruit of sin springs from a taproot. Kill the root, the symptoms wither.
- Act quickly — It’s easier to control weeds when they are actively growing, and sin is best dealt with before it matures.
- Expose to light — Weeds die when deprived of light, but sin withers when it’s shoved into the light.
In the garden of life, Christians still have to deal with sin. So, how does your garden grow?