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Saturday, February 27, 2016

A little weed and feed never hurt anyone!

Is it possible we foster things in our lives we really don't want to have around for the long haul?  To foster means we do something which promotes the growth or development of that thing.  I can water the lawns over and over again, but if I don't put some weed and feed on it occasionally, I eventually end up "fostering" the growth of weeds, not just grass! Spring has come early to the Arizona desert and I will have to take action soon with my lawns or else I will have a bumper crop of weeds and then it will take me even longer to rid myself of all the issues they will cause.  This is how it is with things within relationships which really shouldn't be fostered - keep allowing the stuff to occur which promotes the growth of the wrong stuff and you will yield a bumper crop of wrong outcomes!

Those who forgive faults foster love, but those who repeatedly recall them ruin relationships. (Proverbs 17:9 VOICE)

We can foster the good stuff, or the not so desirable stuff - the choice is not always an active one, though.  Sometimes we foster the "not so desirable" just because we don't pay attention to what is happening around us.  I went out into the yard this past week only to come to the realization the "green" grass was about halfway green because of weeds, not grass!  The flowerbeds are weeded because I did them a week or so prior, but the grass had escaped my focus.  I didn't think much about it because the winter rye was growing so well, is a lush green and kind of makes the weeds a little unnoticeable.  The thing which called my attention to the lawn - the unevenness the weeds created.  The grass pretty much grows at an equal pace, getting cut weekly.  The weeds, on the other hand, have a mind of their own and spring up with shoots here and there which far outgrow the grass, leaving this uneven appearance to the lawn.

Relationship issues may seem like they don't exist at first, but given just a little time to be fostered (even by our inattention) and they will grow bigger in our lives.  They bring an "unevenness" to our relationships and these can make it harder and harder to navigate.  If we don't focus on those things quickly, we might just be harvesting a crop of "negative growth" we don't really want.  The truth of the matter is that relationships take a whole lot of work - if anyone tries to convince you otherwise, they are misguided in their beliefs!  Consider the examples set by God himself. Does he allow relationship issues to go on and on without directing some attention toward them?  Not for a moment!  He may allow us to muddle around for a while, but he knows we need him to reach out when we are muddling.  The most amazing thing is his willingness to forgive faults even before we realize they exist in our lives.  He doesn't wait for us to confess - he extends forgiveness before we even ask - but this doesn't mean we don't ask!

I am going to say something kind of radical here - God doesn't need our confession - we do.  God knows our failure or sinful state - but it can take us a while to actually figure it out ourselves.  In confession, we benefit - for we are able to begin to express what he already knows and in so doing, we are able to connect with the solution to our failure or sin. This is why I think confession is more for us than it is for him. If we understand this example, then we might just understand how that will work in our physical relationships here on this earth.  WE often benefit more than we might just realize from the confession of what we understand to be wrong within our relationships, opening the door for restoration. In confession, there is an acknowledgement WE didn't get everything right, or that we realize something isn't exactly right within the relationship.  It is like we notice the unevenness.  We open the door to "weeding out" the stuff which has been fostered by wrong attitudes, bad judgments, or even neglect.  

We can foster the good stuff, or the not so good stuff.  Maybe we need to spend a little time examining what we foster in our minds - for the wrong stuff fostered there can actually damage the relationship worse than we might realize. The things squirreled away in the recesses of our minds, recounted over and over as things someone didn't do, shouldn't have said, might have done differently - these are things which will eventually produce a bumper crop of "weeds" in our relationships.  Instead, let's begin to foster the attentiveness our relationships genuinely need.  We might just be surprised at the "lush" product of love and grace which is yielded by this attentiveness!  Just sayin!