In the movie Edward Scissorhands takes several big green blobs and shapes them into something beautiful. I can't really do that.
Today I took some time to start the gardening process in my new yard. Unfortunately my new yard has been neglected for some time, so I have quite a battle ahead of me. I got 3 bushes trimmed. It took me an hour and a half, so trimmed probably isn't the best word. I cut them down to about 1/3 of their size. About 5 minutes into my job, I stopped thinking about what it would look like and just cut out as much as I could. (BTW, they ended up a decent size which was my goal. Pretty? I don't know.) That got me to thinking, I'm glad God doesn't garden like me. I just hacked at it and cut off everything I could. I found many places that were overgrown and starting to budge in on other plants. There were dead areas that no one bothered to cut out. There were live areas that took a whole lot of effort to cut out. With every bush, there was at least 1 other plant growing up through it. I'm not too good at cutting something, then removing it. So sometimes I cut the same piece two or three times. I'm not a good gardener. I'm glad God is.
Of course, as I was working I couldn't help but think of the parallels to the Christian life in what I was doing.
1. God doesn't hack at us. He gently prunes. Pruning isn't easy, but it sure is better than hacking. Because if we aren't pruned, we start growing into places we weren't meant to be. Our branches start getting in the way of other people. Our roots start pushing other roots out of the way and starving some.
2. The overgrown parts happened because someone didn't care for them. Pruning is a part of the caring for us process that God has. God loves us enough to prune us a little here and there, just like a good gardener does. Are you loving others enough to help prune them?
3. Our dead areas need to be cut away as well. If not, they are just taking up valuable space in our lives. Are you holding on to any of your dead parts?
4. If we aren't pruned, then some things take hold and it becomes very hard and painful to cut them out. However even when it is painful, these parts still need to be cut out. Is there something deep rooted you need to cut out? Do you need to help someone with they are cutting out?
5. When you do cut something out, throw it away. Don't leave it hanging around. It will only get in the way of other stuff. You might waste your time and energy cutting at it again when it is unnecessary. It might be covering up something else you do need to cut out. Just because something isn't a problem for you anymore, doesn't mean you still need it around.
God takes a big blobs and forms them into something beautiful as well. Just like in Edward Scissorhands, this process involves some trimming here and there. But all this trimming really is for our good. It prevents more painful hacking later. There are those we see everyday who are going through this hacking process. Let's not judge too harshly when we find that. Let us try to support them through it all. Let us be more like God the gardener.