It takes less time, effort, equipment, and planning to remove a small tree than it does a large one. A sapling is easier to cut down than a mighty oak tree.
Several years ago, Loretta and I lived on a point overlooking the Lake of the Ozarks. The view was great. However, the view straight out over the lake was blocked by a tall, full-sized oak tree.
Even though I had a wonderful view to the left and right, I wanted to look straight ahead, so I decided to remove the tree all by myself. After all, I was a man with a chainsaw in a red and black plaid flannel shirt. No tree was too big for me.
The tree appeared to be slightly leaning toward the lake, away from the house. I soon discovered that things are not always as they appear. I can only imagine what Loretta was thinking when she looked out the window and saw me trying to hold back the tree from falling on the house. I had cut the wedge properly, but somehow my new Craftsman chainsaw was wedged between the trunk and the tree. It was the only thing that was preventing my A-frame roof from becoming a V-frame roof.
After several hours and much help, the tree toppled in the right direction. The house was saved, but my macho male ego was crushed.
God delivered me and my house that day, but several valuable lessons were learned.
1) Always consult with your spouse (if you're married) or a trusted person in your life before doing something you've never done.
2) Don't overestimate your abilities.
3) Eliminate "trees" that you know will be a problem while they are still small. The longer you put it off, the more you have to deal with.
God intends for our relationships to be full of life, but for many of us there are hurts and offenses that date years into the past. As a pastor, I have discovered that a relationship going bad is easier to heal than a relationship gone bad.
I encourage you today to not allow small hurts and offenses to grow. Maintaining relationships with a spouse, friends, or family members is a consistent daily work. If we would only walk in the fruit of the Spirit as the Bible instructs, then the saplings will never become mighty oaks.
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23).