There are quite a few trees on the property where our house sits. For the most part, we really like them. They provide shade, privacy, and a place for a multitude of birds and critters to live and enjoy. However, on one side of our home, there are (or, were) three tall, scraggly pine trees that straddled the property line between us and our neighbor. They weren’t all that lovely.
One day, after a series of storms had ripped through, one of the trees seemed to be leaning towards our neighbors’ home. At first, I thought it was my imagination, so I asked my husband to look at it. He agreed, it was definitely askew. As each day passed, it seemed to get more and more crooked. It became clear, something would have to be done.
Now, strictly according to the law, if that tree had fallen on our neighbor’s house, it would have been their problem, not ours. Their homeowner’s insurance would bear the responsibility of removing the tree and fixing the damage it would most definitely have done. However, that was not an option, as far as we were concerned. The tree was on our property and was threatening to do serious damage to our neighbors’ home, so we called a tree service and had it quickly removed.
The whole ordeal made me think of the emotional, spiritual and psychological “leaning trees” that many of us need to address, because they threaten to harm others. How many of us have allowed our own personal forest full of past hurts, abandonment issues, depression, anxiety, anger management issues, addictions, etc. to hurt the people closest to us? Then, we make excuses for our behavior, or worse, we simply deny there is a problem at all: “My trees are just fine, thank you very much!”
I think it’s safe to say that everyone has at least one or two of these “leaning trees.” Maybe you know exactly which ones belong to you. Maybe you don’t. Either way, it’s essential that you allow God’s Holy Spirit to lead the way in revealing the trees you need to deal with right now. In prayer, ask him to show you clearly which hurts need healing and which relationships need reconciling. Ask Him daily for the strength and wisdom you need as you do the work.
Finally, if you are feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of this task, if you feel like your trees are just too big, too deeply rooted to remove, take heart. This is the stuff of repentance, restoration, and love. This is truly Holy work, and if you’ll let Him, I have no doubt that God will help you with your tree removal project.