I dye my hair, and because my hair grows quickly, my roots can make me look like a skunk if I let too much time go by without some color enhancements. To help the big dye job last longer, I get my roots dyed halfway between the big dye job appointments, so I’m relatively savvy with my root maintenance. However, at some point in the not very distant future, I’m seriously thinking about letting go of this dye dance and celebrating the natural color of my hair, which is mostly white. In the meantime, I attend to my roots so that they don’t skunk me out.
I think this whole root thing is worth consideration because we all have roots that can be challenging for us. For example, I have roots in me that get visible in various conversations or people interactions. Jesus helps me see this in Luke 6:45 when He says, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” When I gossip, criticize, belittle, vilify or make fun of someone (a co-worker, classmate, family member, neighbor, person on the opposite political side, etc.), ultimately what I say about someone else is most importantly an exposure of the roots or content in my heart.
At the same time, I can appreciate the importance of speaking truth and not disguising or diluting truth. But let’s be careful that we don’t neglect mercy / grace at the expense of truth since we read about this essential combination in Psalm 85:10. It’s possible that we neglect mercy and grace when speaking truth because there’s judgmentalism in our hearts, or maybe we have some darkness in our soul that needs grace and forgiveness.
In relation to roots, I also think we should consider our consumer mindset that’s so massively embedded into our culture and shaping our values and interactions. I see myself slip into this consumer outlook when I buy books (which seems to be endless) when I get another t-shirt (because I like t-shirts), when I purchase five pounds of the coffee I like (so I don’t run out) and lots more. I give you examples of my own consumer affinities because I’d like for you to think about the possible consumer expressions that might seem “normal” in your life.
Underneath the consumerism in our society, there are roots and motives of the heart that drive such breathless pursuits to acquire. What might some of these roots be? For my dad, he grew up in the Depression-era, so I think his “collecting” obsession was rooted in the deficiencies of his childhood. Perhaps my affinity for books is rooted in my desire to be significant (feeling smart). I also think that some of our consumerism is a distraction that we use so that we don’t have to deal with personal struggles, pain, etc.
More than anything, I think that the contents and roots in our hearts need God’s love, full stop. I say this because I’m firmly convinced that at the very center of every human core is an insatiable appetite for genuine love. To this end, perhaps all of our various external pursuits and expressions can be distilled down to this one essential root in every human heart. Maybe this is the God-sized hole in each of our hearts that is only resolved with Holy Spirit pouring the love of God into our hearts like the Bible says in Romans 5:5.
I recognize that we frequently pay lip service and acknowledge that God loves us. But I don’t think that we frequently embrace that truth in the core of our hearts, based on our behaviors and conversations. Let’s be mindful to look at the roots and content in our hearts so that our external living resonates with God’s authentic design in our core. More importantly, let’s allow God to be the infinite solution for our insatiable craving for genuine love. From my point of view, letting God’s genuine love fully into our hearts can heal and feed our roots so that our external living can overflow with genuine love. Happy rooting!