Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

June 22, 2022
Are we missing grace by ‘watering weeds’?

Our family does not have a great many traditions; that’s not a complaint or a source of pride, just an observation. That being said, on Mother’s Day every year one of our daughters and her family come to visit and our son-in-law spends most of the visit in our yard planting annuals, moving perennials, trimming trees and any other improvement that flows from his creative mind; it’s great. 

I do have opposable thumbs, but not a green thumb between them so I am extra appreciative of his labors. This year he resurrected a pot from some place in the yard and told me he was not sure what member of the plant family was sprouting its way to the surface but I should probably water it with the rest of the flowers and ground cover he had planted.

The well-watered lush green foliage finally produced what even with my limited botanical knowledge became recognizable as a weed. I realized I had been dutifully watering what I would have eliminated if I understood what the final outcome would be.

The analogy struck me that it was not the only time I had watered weeds in my own life. Those weeds like unforgiveness, jealousy, and anger. The things we dislike in our life, but not enough to remove them; what might be  called our “favorite sins.” 

I am reminded of what the writer to the Hebrews said: “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many,” (Hebrews 12:14-15 NIV). The writer of the letter captured in verse fourteen the simple example of the horizontal person to person relationship, “live at peace with all men” and the vertical relationship in terms of our relationship to God, “to be holy.” 

I admit that last part sounds daunting, in part because the idea of holiness is often confused with the keeping of a long list of do’s and don’ts; endless box checking. The biblical idea of holiness is simply “set apart for a scared purpose.” The idea of being holy is followed by verse fifteen which encourages us not to miss “the grace of God.” He also describes what  happens when we avoid that grace or miss the grace: it gives opportunity for troublesome bitter roots. Those hidden but nurtured things like those weeds; the favorite sins I mentioned earlier. 

Paul wrote to the churches of Ephesus about the importance of grace when he said “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast,” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV). Grace is often misunderstood — sadly talked about more than lived out. It does not eliminate our part of our relationship with Christ. The writer to the Hebrews used phrases like “Make every effort” and “See to it”; accepting grace is letting God do for us what we cannot do for ourself.

Bill Upton is a retired chaplain of the Tooele City Police Department.

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