My two best times for thinking are in the shower, and when I’m gardening. Some say their very best thinking happens while they run, but this is a hypothesis I am never going to test. So I shower, and I garden, and while I garden, I think. My soil time is soul time, good for reflecting on how things grow, and on dealing with sins as weeds.
Last week, however, I realized that sometimes I can take weeding a little too far.
Two months ago I planted an entire bed of sweet onions. One by one, I had laid them in neat little rows. I was so thrilled when they sprouted strong green tops. Surely this was a sign of deep growth happening beneath the soil.
Inevitably, the weeds grew too. Little creeper weeds began to grow and cover the area between each onion, creating an intricate lattice work of not-onions. There were a lot of them, and I began to panic about how my baby onions would fare.
In a rush one afternoon, I judged that my trusty scuffle hoe with its 3″ wide edge could safely and easily maneuver between the 4″ spaced rows. So scuffle, scuffle, scuffle I went.
Hoe hoe hoe. Weeds gone.
And within two days, most of my onions gone too. Not so Ho Ho Ho.
They were too young, too tender, too vulnerable for my vigor. They needed hand-weeding. They needed just a bit more time.
The onions made me think of one student in particular I mentored some years ago. She had a young, fledgling faith and it was exciting to see her grow. But there were things in her life which, if left for too long, would cause her damage: bad habits, bad relationships, less-than-wise choices.
However, instead of helping her deal with those gently, pulling sinful “weeds” out one by one, I went in with a spiritual scuffle hoe: full of advice on how to overhaul her life from top to bottom. Immediately.
Weeds gone. For a short while.
But within two months, she was gone too.
Let’s not deal with people with a scuffle hoe.
“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” – Galatians 6:1