My mother was an amazing gardener; me, not so much. I knew that my sisters managed to figure it out and to my knowledge are all great gardeners. However, having had so much influence around me, I couldn’t figure out why I was a such a dismal failure.
I would watch my mom chop back her roses until there was almost nothing left. She did this in preparation for the fall and winter seasons, ( I thought she was killing them). She assured me it was necessary. When spring came around to my surprise, tiny buds formed just above the places she had pruned. Before you knew it there were a harvest of gorgeous salmon colored, incredibly fragrant roses! It was a mystery to me. I had tried many times to grow herbs, especially herbs, because of my love for cooking and using fresh produce. I used my mother’s pruning principles; in my mind I did exactly what she did! My luck with pruning was poor, to say the least. I would buy already established plants to see if that would help and did exactly as the garden center instructed me with the feeding, watering regime and soil quality. At first they would look awesome, but of course they were already established plants. They would grow for a few weeks so beautifully, and then when it came time to harvest, they would die within a week of harvesting the herbs! I could NOT figure it out……until recently.
My favorite teacher, Jesus, said ” He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.“
I was sure I used this principle when I was trimming my herbs?? However, time and time again, they would die. In my frustration, I had asked another expert what I was doing wrong. It turns out I was “cutting them off or pruning them all wrong”. Apparently there is a “right way” to cut something off. Pruning is vital and important to the growth of plants and the principles work the same with people.
I discovered that there is a certain place on the plant that you never cut below, or it simply won’t grow and that is exactly what I was doing wrong. Apparently you can trim things back until you reach the point where there is still a little growth. That will then inspire new growth. But I was cutting it off completely down to the bottom thinking that would do the trick and all it did was kill the plant.
So there is a lesson I learned from pruning that I can apply to people and relationships.
If you cut someone off completely and leave NO room for any kind of opportunity for reconciliation, that is the same mistake I was making when I was cutting my herbs. I was taking everything away. In people, when you cut them off without any chance of reconciliation, you take their hope away and you will kill their spirit. They can’t grow, because people, like plants, have to have some hope that their pruning will help them understand what you are trying to tell them. They also need time in your presence to hear your heart and concerns, otherwise they can only speculate. Cutting them off completely leaves them in the state you left them and you have just contributed to their lack of growth. No one can grow with out feedback, good soil, understanding and hope that they can learn from their mistakes or gain insight into why you felt the need to “prune” them.
So if you have cut someone off and think that somehow you are going to “improve” them, think again. Forgiveness, compassion and yes, even sharing your heart and pain in a respectful way is like pruning correctly. But complete cutting them off with no hope of ever being able to sort it out…. well that’s just cruelty… serves no purpose…it kills………………
LJK- Let’s remember that Love, Joy Kindness are the gifts we have to give one another… lets’ build one another up…We are called to love……
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins
Matthew 6:14“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15“But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.