Lessons From the Olive Tree- Part 1 of 2

Some of my readers may wonder how these blog posts come about, because I somehow manage to write new ones a couple times each month.  Though I have countless different influences, such as loved ones, scriptures, music, spiritual pondering, and more, the Spirit always is the medium by which blog ideas come to my attention.  Today, it brought some ideas to my mind as I studied the allegory of the olive tree, found in Jacob 5.  And I most certainly hope that these miscellaneous spiritual thoughts will aid at least a few of you in your journey towards the light as you or someone you know copes with same-sex attraction.  I have personally found them to be highly enlightening to my mind and spirit.

To begin, then, one particular set of verses (Jacob 5: 64-68) caught my attention, which is where I have drawn each little principle from. To begin, there is a three-step process given to the servants of God before the "trees" (us) can begin to receive the grafting, which means cutting away part of one tree and uniting it with another tree. Back to the three-step process.  First, digging.  What does digging around trees do?  It forms a circular, sunken area around the trees, enabling them to best soak up the nourishment of water and manure.  Next, pruning cuts back the branches so that when they grow again, they bring forth the best quality of fruit.  And finally, spreading manure at the base of the tree provides additional nourishment to sustain the tree and accelerate its growth.  Let's explore those, then. 

In same-sex attraction, I have observed that we sometimes bury our feelings about it beneath the surface- shame, guilt, embarrassment, anger, fear, doubt, and so on.  Those emotions tend to fester there, until they become like an excruciatingly painful infection that is much too difficult to ignore.  Some people keep them mostly there, letting just enough out in radical spurts to irregularly regulate the pressure.  Others remain silent, suffering in their isolation and wondering when the pain will ever end.  And still others open up intermittently, sometimes finding relief but nothing sufficiently healing.  Certainly, of course, other scenarios exist, but these are the most common I have observed.  How does "digging" come in?  With a spade of openness, honesty, trust, faith, optimism, love, and wisdom, I believe the surface can be broken up.  And in its place, we can form a circular pattern of support, one that runs deep in the ground of our hearts.  This enables us to best receive the nourishment of love that is surely waiting for every SSA individual. 

Naturally, life is not always brimming over with loving support, helping hands, and acceptance.  Indeed, sometimes we will find in our attractions that much less help than we need or perhaps no help at all is being given.  It may surprise you, then, that the symbol of the second step of "pruning" plays the most important part.  You see, the others relate to nourishment.  But without being cut back, a tree cannot realize its full potential.  Similarly, God sends us opposition in many forms (or simply allows it to happen) because He understands that unless we endure that opposition with faithfulness, we cannot realize our eternal potential as sons and daughters of God.  Opposition is essential to our salvation and exaltation.  Through the pruning of friendships & relationships falling apart, rejection from family, unrighteous judgment, gossip, self-doubt, struggles with chastity, heartache for marriage and family, and denying ourselves of ungodly desires, we emerge having our best qualities growing back or developing more quickly.  In short, we find sanctification.  

Continuing on, then, the final step is additional nourishment.  It may interest you, though, to know that spreading manure is most definitely not a one-time event.  Throughout the life of the tree, the one taking care of it regularly gives it that extra amount of nourishment to accelerate its growth.  When coping with SSA in gospel-centered ways, we must discover personal ways to maintain our overall faithfulness to the Lord, particularly in larger affairs such as chastity.  As for how you may do so, I would suggest pondering it over in your mind, weighing out the many paths of righteousness before you.  Study the scriptures and other authoritative sources in the Church, and discern through the Spirit those which would best serve you.  Then pray, and wait upon the Lord's timing and His ways to answer.  I promise you will find your path to keep going.  For now, I wish to end...but I have more principles to discuss from this allegory in a few weeks' time.  Until then, I wish you well and express my gratitude for you reading my blog post. 

1 comment:

  1. Well written. I like how open you are about things. It's a hard thing to talk about but I think you'll be able to help a lot of people who deal with this. God bless you for being daring enough to talk about such things. You're awesome!