Some years ago I bought a bunch of perennial flower bulbs, planted them, and waited to see what would happen. I had no idea what colors might pop out of those clenched green fists, and I could hardly keep myself from prying the blooms open!  I would study them every day, watching for the slightest hint of color. 

On one such day, as I was bent over looking at the delicate buds, I said to Cole (who was in first grade at the time), “What color do you think these will be, Buddy?” 

 He said, “I don’t know, but if they’re green they’re gonna be damn ugly.”  I stood up abruptly and turned to him, asking if he would kindly repeat himself.

With more volume and enunciation, he looked up to me and repeated, “I don’t know, but if they’re green they’re gonna be damn ugly.” 

There, in broad daylight and in the presence of his mother, my sweet little innocent boy had used his first swear word. When I pointed this out, he was shocked! He had no idea. 

Of course, I was not shocked to learn that he had first heard the word in a movie. One that his grandparents let him see, no less! Boy, did I have fun rubbing that one in!

Cole’s experimentation with repeating a swear word was innocent enough. He didn’t know that he was being offensive, and when he was corrected, he stopped using the word immediately and completely. What a sweet compliance he had–one that I wish, as God’s child, that I could say that I have.

On a daily basis, God shows me how I have offended him in broad daylight, and in his presence—perhaps by my selfishness or arrogance or stubbornness. But rather than yanking those little weeds from my heart immediately, I often let them root around and grow. And when they burst into bloom, they are truly ugly.


God points out my offenses, not because he wants to shame me or shake a finger at my dirt. Rather, he wants to clear out the weeds so that my heart can be a fertile place for all of the beautiful spring blooms that he wants to plant in me. 

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