There is a small, pretty tree called the Chokecherry, Prunus virginiana. It grows in open areas like plains, foothills or mountainous regions and it spreads pretty easily. Like many plants, the Chokecherry starts to bloom in the Spring and its blossoms then reveal its fruit a little later.
Looks yummy, huh.
The thing that many don't know is that the Chokecherry is toxic to ruminant animals like horses, deer and cattle. In addition, to humans the fruit is very bitter and the seed is inedible without being cooked and completely dried.
Because the plant contains amygdalin which breaks down into cyanide.
Did you catch that? Cyanide.
Cyanide is a poison that can bring great discomfort and pain and in the right amount, has the power to kill.
I am reminded of a verse in Scripture that says:
"Look after each other so that none of you fails to recieve the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many." Heb 12:15 (NLT)In some translations, for "grace", the Bible says "kindness", "love", "unmerrited favor and spiritual blessing". Is it then possible that some of the people I encounter during my week have at some point missed God's grace because someone else has failed to extend them kindness? Is it possible then that the bitterness inside them is what poisons my experience or others?
I believe it may be so.
I have another set of Nine Little Words I use while I'm out. They are:
"What is the most loving thing I can say?"Often times it's just a "thank you", or using a person's name, or a smile. I try to never go to a store in a hurry and always try to genuinely ask how the employee I am interacting with is doing. Trust me, I've gotten the grumpy "not as good as you" remark but often times I've gotten a smile in return.
Like the Chokecherry, I have to remember that my outward appearance may look safe but if my words tear down and don't build up and my fruit is toxic, then I just might as well feed someone cyanide.
I must remember that even in myself, if I allow bitterness to grow and am unable to extend kindness, the very life I may be choking out is that of my own.
Remember to always extend someone kindness. You never know, they may be needing to feel God's grace and love. If you need to, start today. Look at yourself in the mirror and remind yourself of God's favor.
Blessings for your day,