The other day I was shopping with my sisters in Holland and went in a store that had these really interesting plants and hand-made pots. Written on one of the pots it said, “GROW Dammit!” I had to chuckle because I have totally done that -yelled at my plants to get them to grow – maybe not in those exact words – but still. Obviously, it’s ridiculous to try to get your plants to grow by yelling at them, but sometimes you wonder if it might actually help. And let’s face it, yelling is so much easier than giving them the proper amount of water, soil, and sunshine. Or is it?
So this may sound a bit cliche, but it’s true: Our job is to provide a plant with the right amount of water, dirt, and light. It’s God’s job to make it grow and produce fruit. But we (especially woman) are controlling by nature and we like to do not only our job, but God’s.
I’ve struggled for many years reverting to yelling at my kids or nagging my husband in hopes to bring about change. A lot of times it’s rooted out of a passion to see positive growth in their lives but most of the time it’s rooted in fear: fear that they’re not changing fast enough; fear that I’ll be put out; fear of being hurt again; or fear that they won’t change at all. Yelling or being condescending or punishing harshly often feels like the only way to get across them. But the truth is, “The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:20.
So what is our job? Aren’t we supposed to challenge our kids and spouses, or family members when they are out of line? What about “iron sharpening iron?” What about when we see people living in sin and the way it’s destroying their lives? Should we just be quiet?
I believe the answer is simple. Love.
Why are you confronting them? Is your motive love or fear?
How are you confronting them? Is it in a gentle, loving tone or is it through attacks, yelling, or being condescending?
When are you giving confrontation? Is it when you’re calm and have taken it to the Lord, or is it when you’re still hurting or angry?
What are you confronting? Things that benefit you or things that benefit them? Things that are hurting you or how you’ve hurt them?
We’re all guilty of yelling at our kids and spouses and family members – or even our plants. So maybe the reason we’re not seeing growth and change is that God is saying to all of us: “Give me back my job! Your job is to plant seeds of love. My job is to make it grow. When you take my job, you are taking my glory. I want you to participate, not to dominate.”
Let’s give God His job back. Let’s stop the bleeding. Let’s simply love and leave the results to God. And when we get tired of doing that and we just don’t see any progress, then do it some more. Keep watering. Keep loving. “Don’t grow weary in doing good. For at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Gal. 6:9
God is faithful in this promise. I’ve seen Him move. He moves the mountains. And I believe we’ll see Him do it again.