How many of you have ever had a bad case of Poison Oak or Poison Ivy? If you are as allergic to it as I am you may have tried to put it in the far corner of your mind so you won't have to remember it! One of the most miserable times that I can remember was about 35 years ago when as a newlywed I was talked into "helping" my husband with some trees he was cutting. He was selling them for pulpwood and he had me piling the brush for him. Evidently some of the trees had poison ivy growing on them but I must not have known it. Anyway, the end result was absolutely horrible! I had a itchy, oozy, rash all over my arms and my stomach! It just about drove me crazy! If you've ever had a poison oak/ivy incident you can identify with me! I tried every home remedy I knew but finally had to go to the doctor and get a shot and a pack of prednisone pills to take for a week.
My husband still kids me and says that it cost more to cure me of the poison oak than he made from the load of logs he sold! ha I have had many run-ins with it since but none as bad as that time! Now hubby takes special care to keep the poison oak killed from around our house and yard. This year we've had much more rain than usual though and the poison oak has thrived. He has worked hard trying to kill it before it spreads further but somehow he missed some that was growing up the side of a tree.
I could see them from the kitchen window. The vine on one tree was bright green, lush, and thriving! The vine on the other tree was dead and brown. And when I saw them side by side like that, the verse from Hebrews 12: 15 came to my mind. I thought about myself and the times that I do things that I know God is not pleased with. I specifically thought about the tendency I have toward harboring bitterness in my heart. It was like God spoke to me through those vines on the trees and revealed to me that my bitterness is just as poison to my spirit as the poison oak is to my body! Wow! I avoid poison oak like the plague but am I that careful about avoiding bitterness? I should be!
Am I letting bitterness thrive unchecked in my heart which will in the long run hurt not just me but others? Is this bitterness covering my spirit like the beautiful green...but very poisonous vine is covering the tree?
Or am I giving the Lord permission to pull out that bitterness and let it die and dry up.....like the dead vine on the tree.....so that it will stop hurting me and others around me?
God's Word says this about it in Ephesians 4: 31-32 "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
May God help us to NOT let that root of bitterness take over and poison our lives!