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October 1, 2019, 11:00 AM

Human Sticker Burr


I guess it’s that time of the year again. It seems as if overnight our yard was taken over by the great Texas sticker burr, aka, Cenchrus echinatus. One of the strange things my wife noticed about our yard was that the sticker burrs seemed to be most heavily concentrated around the edges, right up next to the sidewalk and driveway where we park. Once you tip-toe past them in this area, they are more scattered and it is easier to maneuver through the yard. I could just mow over them but that would only serve as a temporary solution and make the problem worse when it returned. I could put chemicals on them to kill them off but that can be harmful to the other grass and the environment. There is one way to eradicate the problem but it takes time, persistence, and tremendous effort. The secret is found in the fact that, while the tops of the weed are troublesome, the roots are very superficial and can easily be dug up with a garden hoe or shovel. This removal of the root system prevents future growth but needs to be done on a regular basis to prevent new growth.

Paul talks about people, who in my mind, are similar to the sticker burr. In Romans 1:28-32 Paul addresses some things that often don’t get considered as being in the same category of sins he lists in verses 24-27. Those who are filled with bitterness, deceit, envy, and hatred or who are gossips, slanderers, and arrogant are identified by Paul as being equally guilty as those who commit the “big sins.” I think if Paul were to write this letter today he would probably include using social media to insult and “throw shade” at others rather than being mature and doing what they Bible says about going to that person to work toward a resolution. These types of people seem to pop up in churches like the weeds among the good grass. Their behavior can be painful to those who come in contact with them and often require an intentional tip-toeing around. They can be located in the areas that people notice first and discourage them from becoming further involved in the church. The problem isn’t necessarily their actions, but the lack of depth of their roots. Because their roots aren’t deep, all they are capable of producing is fruit that doesn’t require much more than a superficial faith and like stickers that grow in bunches close together, they usually gravitate toward each other. It’s these people we must be fervent to pray for, not only that their hearts would change, but also that the Lord would protect us as we traverse around them. God has a way of eradicating the “sticker burr Christians” and even provides the Biblical process for this in Matthew 18, but hopefully, it doesn’t get to that point.

I know Paul also says in Romans 2:1-11 that we’re not supposed to condemn others or be judgmental. The type of judgment he is speaking of is the judgment reserved for God, for His judgment is based on His attributes, and none of us are God. The Bible does teach that we should evaluate the fruit of a person in order to know them. Matthew 7 begins with instructions not to judge in this manner but goes on to say in 7:18-20 that a tree will be known by its recognizable fruit. So while we shouldn’t judge others, we should evaluate behavior based on the standard the Judge has set forth in His Word. A tree will be known by its fruit just as the heart of a person is made known by their fruit.

Don’t be a sticker burr. Pray for those that are.


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