The Protected Heart

KEY VERSE | Ephesians 4:32

“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

My mom planted a huge garden and beautiful flowers every year. I loved the delicious veggies, beautiful flowers and watching the butterflies they attracted. She spent time nurturing, weeding, pruning and watering, and while I have always loved giving and receiving flowers, gardening was never my thing.

Now that I own a home I have learned that it’s not so much about what you plant, but where you plant and how you take care of it. You need to prepare your soil and take out any rocks so that whatever you are planting can establish strong, healthy roots. The plant or tree may look healthy and beautiful at first but eventually, if the roots are too weak to support further growth they will not survive.

It’s much like a tree that’s been uprooted after a storm. The tree’s roots were in soil that did not help it to grow down deep enough where all the good, rock-free nutrients are so that when a powerful storm rolled in the tree fell over. A tree is only as strong as its roots are deep.

“Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.” Mark 4:5-6

This is much like our relationship with God, we need to make sure our “soil” is healthy and free of “rocks” so our roots in Christ grow deep and strong. One of the rocks that many of us hold onto is the rock of offense. We have been wounded by others and have allowed the feelings of hurt and betrayal that we experienced as a result of the offense keep us from maturing in our faith.

The first step in removing this rock is forgiveness. We don’t forgive those who have wounded us because they deserve it, we forgive because we have been forgiven. We haven’t earned all God has done for us, His sacrifice is a free gift. Much like rocky soil prevents a plant’s roots from going deeper, holding on to offense prevents us from going deeper in our relationship with God.

RESPONSE | Ask God to reveal to you anyone in your life you need to forgive and for the grace to extend it.