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One person I read this week was talking about growing up as a child in a rural community that specialized in growing tobacco. Their first summer job was to weed the crop, and most of the time he and his fellow workers would walk the seemingly endless rows with a hoe, scuffing out weeds in relative comfort. But sooner or later when they got close to the fence, they ran into thistles—hundreds and hundreds of these little thistles. They looked harmless enough, but you couldn’t scuff them out with a hoe; you had to get down on your knees and pull those prickly little things out by the roots. So many times these workers thought it would be far easier to just those thistles stay there. After all, they weren’t very big. But the wise farmer knew if they left them until harvest time, that whoever reached down to get a handful of tobacco would come away with a palm full of thorns.

You know, bitterness is a lot like those little thistles. We can push away hurts and pains, but the only way to get rid of bitterness is to fall to our knees and root it out through prayerful dependence on God. That’s where the real hard work is done, but if you and I leave a little bitterness in our hearts, it grows until it does real damage to someone. (Citation: Alan Beck, Souris, Preaching Today)

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