Last night I got a what one would describe as a fanatical piece of hair up my back end (aka a wild hair up my ass – where do these sayings come from anyhow and why do I say them?). I brought the recyclables out to the garage and whilst performing this menial task eyed a pair of pruners on my husbands work bench in the garage. I scooped them up and meandered around to the front of the house and started clipping off dead branches on the Crabapple tree. I think its a Selkirk Crabapple. At any rate, the tree is right outside the main window of my living room and I’ve been staring myself blind at dead branches, crossing branches, and clusters of little sprouts growing too close together. Anyone who knows anything about pruning would know why it has been driving me nuts. My husband, who was wondering where I had disappeared to, came out to check the mail and was somewhat surprised to find me up in the tree pruning away with a set of small pruners. It didn’t take long and he was out there with a hand saw and a ladder. We both like doing yard work and we like doing it together.

 

A part of me felt bad hacking away at that tree last night, and a bit worried that the tree would look ugly once we were done pruning- but rationality told me that a dead branch doesn’t need to stay and its not helping the tree by staying on, its literally just dead weight hanging off the tree and it has no business being there anymore. Looking at it tonight I realized that those dead branches are like our forgiven sins- we no longer need to hold on to them,  they can and should be cut loose, it is healthier in the long run. Our own guilt somehow reasons with us that the dead branches should stay, that even though our sins are forgiven we can’t really move forward. We hang on because we think by hanging on we’re performing some sort of penance we still owe despite regular prayers for forgiveness and professing every Sunday that we believe in the forgiveness of sins. It is still a sin if you don’t really believe it has been forgiven or if someone else has been forgiven and you still hold them to their past sin.

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It’s hard sometimes to truly and wholeheartedly believe in the forgiveness of sins. Its hard to leave sin at the foot of God’s throne in prayer and believe that that sin, along with the thousands upon thousands of other sins that have been forgiven,  are REALLY covered through the blood of Christ on the cross but we are assured of it in God’s word. In Acts 13: 38-39 it is written (about Jesus), “Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you , and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses` . How very liberating!…and yet don`t we all find it so very  hard to live by this liberating grace. I don’t have a lot more to say on this, it was just a thought and the last thought of the night is this : when you find you have a dead branch hanging on, whether it is your own sins of the past or someone else’s sin or sins of the past,  go to the foot of God’s throne and prune that dead branch before the weight becomes too much and you find yourself crumpling under a load that only Jesus can carry.

 

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