But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
Matthew 6:15 (NASB)
You know it is spring in Kentucky when the bright yellow dandelions begin peeking through the moist soil. For many, they see this announcement as the dandelions only redeeming quality. They stand the obstacle which separates our yards from a perfect semi-natural green lawn. Many a landscaper, and homeowner, prepare in advance for this annual battle for their eradication, “The only good dandelion is a dead dandelion.”
I am not sure why it happened, but a few years ago the dandelion went from darling of the plant world to notorious infester of yards, a weed! It’s sad, you make one mistake and it’s all over. Dandelions date back to ancient Egyptian times and have been a traditional Chinese medicine for a thousand years. Many believe dandelions were brought to America on the Mayflower, and not on the bottom of someone’s shoe, but on purpose, because of their medicinal benefits.
Did you know the dandelion is more nutritious than most of the veggies we grow in our gardens? It is true, this plant offers more vitamin A, C, iron, calcium and potassium than our veggies. From root to flowering top is totally edible! Dandelions are made into tonics and used to help the body’s filter, the liver, remove the toxins in our bloodstream. This “universal tool” of the plant world has been used for all health issues from warts to the plague.
The next time you are in the grocery, look up dandelions. The roots are dried and sell for $31.75 a pound. You can enjoy a full meal, salad greens to dandelion quiche, followed by dandelion ice cream, all washed down with dandelion wine. And if you overdo it, some dandelion tea will soothe the tummy.
Besides being a gentle diuretic, which provides nutrients and stimulates the digestive system to perform with efficiency, they are a prelude to beauty coming with spring. This plant was celebrated and world famous in the gardens of Europe. It wasn’t until the twentieth century that this lovely flower was de-planted, stripped of its beauty mark, and tossed aside to the weed category.
I realize dandelions do not think, at least I think they do not think. Anyway, even with their demotion to weed, the dandelion seems unaffected. They seem to survive, even thrive, regardless of their category. They persevere, making their way through gravel and cracks in concrete undeterred.
The renowned poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson made this statement about weeds: A weed is but a plant whose virtues remain undiscovered. This is a curious statement. Some believe that Emerson was implying weeds have no value, but he could be gently poking us in the eye for failing to look for the benefits. Could he be speaking of dandelions, or perhaps, people who fail to measure up to the pressures of perfection, reclassified by a perceived failure? Hum?
While dandelions are unlikely to hire a public relations firm to persuade public sentiment, we humans have an advocate speaking up for us when we make a mess of things, and we all have made a mess of things. His name is Jesus, our Lord and Savior, and he made forgiveness permanent when he died on the cross for our sins. The Bible tells us “that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” We may sway the public with slick ad campaigns, but without Jesus we are just lost before God.
When Jesus is planted in your heart, there is new life. We grow in His love and learn to see things from a Kingdom perspective. We should grow slow to anger and learn to love others as God loves us. It is a great transformation likened to a spiritual metamorphosis. It is through His divine power, the Holy Spirit living in us, which makes this possible.
While we are being transformed into the person God created us to be, the devil remains at work. He is busy watering and fertilizing hatred and fear, encouraging us to turn against one another over the smallest of things. One strike and your out! The devil stirs strife, encourages retribution, and demands an emotional justice regardless of fault. So, that means it is up to Christians to encourage forgiveness!
C.S. Lewis said this, “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.”
Consider this verse and how we ought to be. “Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32, NASB)
We must be very careful not to join the cancel mob; we know there is an individual accountability for these actions. We understand real justice is in the hands of God. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37
Martin Luther King said, “Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.”
Anne Bradstreet was a poet in the 1600’s. She had no formal education, home schooled by her father. He opened his library to her, and in turn, the world. Her domestic responsibilities were demanding with eight children and a household to maintain. It was not an easy life. Yet, with this short verse she encapsulates her appreciation for the give and take, the balance of life. “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
Like the dandelion, we were planted here with purpose. We are most beautiful when we love God and each other. Believe it or not, dandelions are good for your yard, with their roots loosening hard-packed soil, and aerating the earth. There’s a lesson to be learned from the dandelion. When we allow Jesus to till the hard-packed soil around our heart, and then we dig down deep in the Word, trust Him for the outcome, and tie our roots around the cross of Jesus, “we become more than conquerors through Him.” (Romans 8:37)
Let’s all pray this winter in America springs forth with forgiveness, and with it, a great harvest for the Lord.