by Heather Bock
Before you read (or after, maybe), I would be so grateful if you’d head over to thejenweaver.com/writers-contest to vote for me by clicking “like” under my picture in the writers contest I entered. It was for my book review for Jen Weaver’s book A Wife’s Secret to Happiness, which is here, if you’d like to read it!
I thought I was going to write one post about how weeds are like sin, all the metaphors that run through (get downloaded by God into?) my mind while I weed. Here I am on yet another part! If you want to see the other parts, here’s part one and part two. You ready for part three?
Weeds are obnoxious. In fact, as of today, the weeds have grown so high in my yard that I am completely overwhelmed to look at them, especially since I know I have no time to attack them. I long to, though. On my way out to the mailbox yesterday morning, I pulled until both hands were too full to hold even one more. Thankfully, it’s my backyard, a little more sheltered from neighbors’ eyes, that is the worst.
Yes, I (and I believe the people before me) have spent more time sprucing up the front yard, the area on display for all to see. This is partly because, as I tell my children, we need to do it out of love for our neighbors. No, really! I live in a neighborhood full of people who highly value pristine lawns. It is very important to them that all the rest of the lawns look just as beautiful. They worry about the value of their house, of course, but it’s more that they are very into aesthetics. We live in a unique neighborhood, not known for its huge houses, but for its cute architecture and charm.
I don’t know how many people weed their lawns out of love for their neighbors, but I certainly hope we use this reason to choose not to sin. Most of the time, our sin belittles the value of others in a way an unkempt yard never could to another house.
Another, less holy reason I (and others like me) weed their front yards faster than their back yards is we don’t want people to see our mess. We want to look like we have it all together, even though if someone peeked over that fence, where the family hangs out and plays, they would see a different image. We might get rid of some sin not out of love for those around us but so we look good. Who takes the brunt of this hidden sin? Just like with the thorns in my backyard–my own family.
Yes, God wants us to eschew sin, but He wants us to do it in all parts of our lives, and He wants our motives to stem from love for Him and then from love for others. In Galatians 1:10, Paul writes, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
Besides, if we think we’re hiding our sins, we’d better think again. My weeds are at the point where the seeds are going to spread soon if they haven’t already. The golden dandelions are going to turn into delicate puffs, ready to release tiny parachutes to the wind. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but weed seeds don’t respect fences. They are happy to spread to whatever fertile ground they can find. Sure, I could just build bigger fences to hide my weed secret, but eventually someone is going to end up in my backyard for some reason or another. Jesus Himself said, “For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light” (Lk. 8:17).
Not only do our secret sins get out past our gates, but they are catching. If I truly love those closest to me, I don’t just weed for their aesthetic pleasure and house value. I weed so their yards don’t become infested like mine. This is most obvious with those who are with me the most. How many times have I cringed to hear words coming out of my kids’ mouths, like my son scolding his sister or brother with a total lack of grace. I can hear the tone as an echo of my own. If you aren’t raising kids right now, you aren’t exempt. We have so much more influence on our friends and adult family members than we realize. If we choose grace, they are much more likely to do the same. Instead of bringing others down, “let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Heb. 10:24).
I still can’t leave this subject, although I’m finished for today. I will continue to post about this next week, so I hope you’ll come back!
P.S. I was able to read a post about a similar topic this week, written by my talented writing friend, Rosemarie Fitzsimmons. You might remember her from the guest post she did for me a little bit ago. Her post is also about a kind of weed and the metaphor it is–a weed with which I’m very familiar because of my ten years in Knoxville, Tennessee: kudzu. I didn’t know the history of this plant before reading this. I hope you go check out her post What’s Green and Hurts All Over–it’s a good one!