Last time we covered quite a bit of ground. If you missed any of the previous posts in this series, I strongly recommend that you stop here and go back and read those first. There are many fundamental truths covered in the previous blog posts and each post is built upon the foundation of what came before. So, reading those first with give you a greater understanding of what is being said today.
Let’s go back to our foundational scripture which is Mark chapter 4:3-20.
Mar 4:3-9 Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, it happened that indeed some fell by the wayside, and the fowls of the air came and ate it up. And another fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth. And it sprang up at once, due to not having deepness of earth.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched. And because it had no root, it withered away. And another fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And another fell on good ground and yielded fruit, going up and increasing. And one bore thirty, and one sixty, and one a hundredfold. And He said to them, He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
The Purpose of the Parables
Mar 4:10-13 And when He was alone, they who were about Him, with the Twelve, asked Him concerning the parable. And He said to them, To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God. But to those outside, all these things are given in parables so that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. And He said to them, Do you not know this parable? And how then will you know all parables?
Mar 4:14 The sower sows the Word.
Mar 4:15-20 And these are those by the wayside, where the Word is sown. And when they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the Word that was sown in their hearts. And these are those likewise being sown on stony places; who, when they hear the Word, immediately receive it with gladness. But they have no root in themselves, but are temporary. Afterward when affliction or persecution arises for the Word’s sake, they are immediately offended. And these are those being sown among thorns; such as hear the Word, and the cares of this world, and the deceit of riches, and the lust about other things entering in, choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful. And these are those sown on good ground, who hear the Word and welcome it, and bear fruit, one thirty, one sixty, and one a hundredfold.
Before I continue on this subject, I think we need to take a look at what was covered in the previous installment. So, bear with me as we do a quick review.
Last time we talked in depth about seeds. We discussed that the nature of seeds is to produce fruit after their kind. It doesn’t matter what kind seed it is, if it’s a seed, then it is on a mission. That mission is to produce the fruit after its kind. We discussed that in the parable of the sower, when Jesus says “the sower sows the Word,” he is referring to the logos which is a Greek word that means reasoned speech or speech that carries weight. We also discussed that the term impactful speech is probably a good definition to use. We also discussed the sower and we concluded that the sower has the following attributes:
- The sower is someone who has access to our heart.
- The sower is someone we have allowed in.
- The sower has permission to sow seeds <logos>.
- The sower may know us personally or we may at least know them and there is reason to trust.
- The sower is purposeful in the sowing of the seeds.
We talked about the fact that at the moment, I could be a sower in your life if my blog is impacting your life. We talked about you also, that you could be a sower by studying and sowing the word into your own heart. Then we sort of turned things around a bit and talked about how this logos doesn’t necessarily mean “Christian Speech.” It can mean any reasoned or impactful speech and that it doesn’t mean that the reasoning is good or that the impact is positive. We had just begun talking about how this is where the stony ground and the thorns comes from. As you may recall, I presented a scenario in which a parent who is in a fit of rage tells their child “You’re a stupid jerk! I hate you! I wish you had never been born.” We discussed how those are also logos words that will impact a child forever even if that “child” is actually an adult when those words are spoken. A stranger could walk up and say those same words and they would have zero impact. Same words and zero impact? That’s because the stranger isn’t a sower. My friend, it takes someone who has access to your heart to be a sower in your life. It is the access that gives those words their impact. For this reason, if you say those words to your child (even if they’re grown), they are devastated and are wounded for the rest of their lives (unless they find healing). We talked about how when ugly seeds like this are planted in your child’s heart, you will reap anger, hatred, inferiority, murder and many other horrible things. Then we talked about how the thorns arise in that child’s heart because of these things. Then I gave a couple of examples of things that can entangle peoples’ lives and how those things come to be. We talked about how these seeds of sin grow in our hearts just like seeds grow in the ground and both produce after their kind.
Let us continue from where we left off last time.
Now let’s go back to the previous example where you just dropped that evil bomb into your kids heart. Because that seed is producing after its own kind, it is bringing with it various forms of sin. Now your child starts planting thorns in their heart because of their hatred towards you and all the anger that is building inside them. It is a tangled mess. This is why we have the saying, “Hurting people hurt other people.” Pain and hurt begets more pain and hurt and gives pain and hurt to others and then the process begins in them. It is truly a cycle of doom where things just go from bad to worse. All of these things are interconnected. It’s a web of pain and hurt mixed with sin, anger and hatred. Only God can unravel it. Thankfully, God is willing and able to do just that… if we’ll allow him to.
I apologize if any of my examples hit close to home. I needed people to see the whole picture. And now I’m going to answer the burning question which is: What does this have to do with love? The short answer is plenty.
There is a saying in retail that goes something like this: “You can’t sell from an empty cart!” In other words, you can’t sell what you don’t have in stock. I’m going to borrow that and say: You can’t love from an empty heart. The parable of the sower shows us the human heart. We all have areas of brokenness where our hearts have been hardened and we all have areas where there are thorns. Perhaps someone of a different race did you or someone you love wrong and now you can’t have compassion on anyone of that same race because of something that happened years ago. That’s a stony place. That’s someone YOU CAN”T LOVE because of the actions of someone else. Perhaps you’re a woman that has been raped and now you can’t trust any man and perhaps you treat every man badly because of the actions of one. All of your relationships fail because of this deep wound that has hardened your heart and robbed you of happiness. That’s another stony place. Perhaps your mom or dad abused you in some way and now you seem to have animosity towards men or women (depending on if mom or dad). You sometimes find yourself yelling at certain people and you don’t even know why. These are all examples those stony places and thorns that people contend with every day. Can you see how this is related now? The Kingdom of God is not about elitists who can love only certain ones and not others. Nor is the Kingdom of God about welcoming certain ones with open arms and telling others to get in the back of the bus. The Kingdom of God is all about love, PERIOD. Shall I withhold from my brother or sister in Christ who is in need simply because they look like someone that did me wrong? The answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT and yet, this happens all the time. For some it is a conscious effort and for others it is hidden and they avoid certain ones for reasons they don’t really understand. The hurt was so long ago that they don’t really remember and yet it still drives their behavior. You may think; What’s the big deal? I love a bunch of people and I try to live a good life. So what if a few people irritate me. Well, it is a big deal. Probably bigger than you realize. What you’re doing in reality is judging certain people as being “less than” simply because that is comfortable and convenient for you. You would let them suffer because their skin color is different, or their gender, or they remind you of someone who treated you wrong. The sad thing is they are not even the people that wronged you. They just fit the profile you created and now they are guilty of the same offense also. These are your thorns and they own you. You must forgive. Let’s look at Mathew 18: 21-35.
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
Mat 18:21-35 Then Peter came to Him and said, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Until seven times? Jesus said to him, I do not say to you, Until seven times; but, Until seventy times seven.
Therefore the kingdom of Heaven has been compared to a certain king who desired to make an accounting with his servants. And when he had begun to count, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he had nothing to pay, his lord commanded that he, and his wife and children, and all that he had, be sold, and payment be made. Then the servant fell down and worshiped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me and I will pay you all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. And he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me what you owe. And his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, Have patience with me and I will pay you all. And he would not, but went and cast him into prison until he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were very sorry. And they came and told their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after he had called him, said to him, O wicked servant, I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have pitied your fellow servant, even as I had pity on you? And his lord was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors until he should pay all that was due to him. So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also to you, unless each one of you from your hearts forgive his brother their trespasses.
You see, when we hold on to unforgiveness, we think we are putting that person in a prison cell. We think we are punishing that person. But the reality is you are one who is imprisoned because of your unforgiveness. You are imprisoned because you are in sin. Yes, it is sin to not forgive. Your sin is magnified when you hold an entire race of people or an entire gender simply because of the actions of one. What was the deal with seeds? They grow… selah
Heb 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Holding on to that unforgiveness (sin) causes you to become hardened. And just like that we have more stony ground.
1John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brothers. He who does not love his brother abides in death.
So much for loving some and not loving others. If they are your brother (or sister) in Christ, then you should love them.
So what do we do? I talked about this last time so you may want to go back and read that again. You’re going to have to think like a farmer and dig up that junk in your heart. You may need some help. In fact, you will need some help. This is why the bible clearly states the following in James 5:16
James 5:16 Confess faults to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous one avails much.
It is best to get with someone specifically trained in this area. I can’t emphasize that enough. So get with a trained counselor, a pastor or lay minister or even a spiritually mature believer. But, whatever you do, please don’t just park and think everything will turn out okay. Instead, pursue Him with all of your heart, with nothing held back. Remember this from the book of Hebrews:
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Seek Him diligently and ask Him for help and guidance and let Him help you find the help you need. Finally, be encouraged by this word which is again from the author of Hebrews.
Heb 12:1-2 Therefore since we also are surrounded with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily besets us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right of the throne of God.
It doesn’t matter what happened in the past or what you have done or even what you didn’t do. Lay all of those things and all the sin and junk that goes with it at the foot of the cross. He will not condemn you, neither will I. As you do this, things will change and you will discover that things that once “pushed your buttons” no long affect you. You will discover you can love others in ways you didn’t think possible. Trust me when I tell you this is a really good thing.
Until next time, may God’s richest blessings be yours in Christ.
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Copyright (C) 2019 M. Unruh