A Painful Pruning
It happened so quickly. I plucked one dead flower off the branch. And then another. And another. This felt good, I knew I was helping to prune the plant and by taking away all the dead yuck, I was making it a much better flower. I was helping this flower live a much better life.
I pulled off a live flower.
And it was a really pretty one.
In my haste to take all the yuck away, I too quickly ripped out a sweet part. A part that could really bring joy to someone.
And while I cleaned the fallen petals, ripped yuck, and this one beautiful example of life off the bench, I remembered my tone the afternoon before when I was criticizing my husband. In front of the kids. As I was telling him how I thought he should step up and talk to the lifeguard about my son’s lessons, I was trying to help him to become a “better dad.” And while I thought I was getting away the yuck, I think I pulled a little life from him. What does it look like if I am “fixing” him all the time? What message does that send my daughter? What message does it to send to my sons?
In a message I heard my pastor teach, “Your words can make someone revile the gospel.” More specifically, my words and actions can make someone hate the gospel. By ripping apart my husband like I ripped off those dead parts of the flower, I inadvertently ripped a living part of him, in doing so I was not showing an example of grace and love to my children that should be found in a marriage.
Now, I am not saying that spouses should not ever argue in front of their children. Quite the opposite, personally I think it is healthy to have some disagreements in front of the kids as long as your children see a resolution and that during the disagreement, there was an element of respect displayed by both parents.
And when I thought of what I did to him, I remembered different times I tried to “fix” my kids by making them into little adults that acted more like me. For my daughter specifically, how many times have I been frustrated because she acted differently in a situation than I would and I tell her how to fix it. Could it be that with every “fixing ” session, I might accidentally pull a piece of her uniqueness that God created in her?
May I choose my words carefully and prayerfully. May I join my daughter in being pruned by the Holy Spirit and not by calloused words.
Now, your turn, was there ever a time when you were pruned in a hasty manner or was there a time when someone challenged you so gracefully, it actually brought you more life?