Picking Fruit or Digging Root


The stone cherry tree in my overgrown garden doesn’t produce edible fruit, but picking any fruit is far easier than digging root. So we pull a few weeds and do minimal pruning. Too time consuming!

And in the area of character, don’t I take the same shortcuts? I will sometimes pick off a behavior, only to have it quickly grow back,  when I really need to dig out the root cause. I have experienced this personally and in parenting. Sigh.
“Stop that! Stop that right now,” commands the exasperated parent of the children picking on, teasing, or otherwise working to make the others dissolve into tears or sulk in embarrassment. Silence, albeit brief, reigns. 

Fruit picked. Check! But the short lived peace among the kiddos testifies to the repeated need for parental fruit picking. Again and again. We quickly utter a percussive reprimand and consider the job done. Make no mistake: parenting requires much picking off of undesirable fruit.

But what if we asked, “How are you being a peacemaker?” and actually took the time to wait for an answer from each child involved. This question illustrates digging the root. And, yes, it takes much more time. But when we dig out and either discard, as in poison ivy, or replant, as in these irises, we begin to see character changes.

What if God simply thundered from the heavens, “Stop that!” He did that with the Law, but now, in mercy, He most often chooses to show us Grace by digging at roots that strangle our growth. 

May we take the time today as the Lord works at digging roots rather than our merely picking fruits of behavior.

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