“You’re going to need a root canal.” The dentist scanned the x-ray, offering a matter of fact tone.
I closed my eyes, dreading the procedure. When the dentist noticed my apprehension, he explained, “If we don’t get rid of the infected root, it will destroy your tooth. A crown will only mask the problem.”
Reluctantly, I dragged myself to the office to have the root canal. While the procedure itself wasn’t that bad, I’ve had almost a week of pain and discomfort, so much so that I had to make a return visit to the dentist. As difficult as the thing has been though, I’m thankful to report that my tooth is intact and on the mend.
My process with the root canal has made me think about how important it is to address the root issues in our lives. If we don’t address the root problem, eventually, things will get worse. Most of the time, as we all know, roots aren’t easily visible, yet they’re essential for life. However, just because we can’t see the root, it doesn’t mean that it’s not there and crucial. We sometimes try to manage, cover, and even coddle the hard problems with what feels comfortable for us. For example, maybe we don’t want to deal with the headache of voicing our concerns to someone that we love because we may fear their rejection, anger, or hurt feelings.
So many times, we don’t get to the root of issues because it’s painful. Just like going through a root canal can be difficult, getting to the real reasons for the problems in our relationships can be risky and uncomfortable. Relationships may change when we address the root, and yes, we might even be the one who has to change, which can be difficult to face. I’m sure a root canal could have been avoided if I would have done a whole lot of things better. It’s the same way in relationships. The longer we wait to address the problems, the bigger and worse they tend to get.
My advice to everyone is to eat right, brush and floss (even in your sleep), and get to the dentist often. If that still doesn’t do the trick, opt to get a filling. Don’t let it get to the root canal point if you can help it! If you must get a root canal, get it done quickly. In other words, we have to identify the root problems in our relationships and within ourselves. After that, we have to do the hard work of hashing out, compromising (if and when needed), and letting go of anything and anyone that is holding us back. We must get sin out of the camp—at all costs—whether it manifests within ourselves or in our relationships. We shouldn’t participate in sin, and we shouldn’t tolerate it. Getting rid of the diseased areas in our lives is vital for optimum growth and potential.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” When we put our trust in the Lord, we are rooted in Him, not in vanity, people pleasing, selfish motives, desires, and the stress and cares of life. Notice that the verse likens us to being a tree planted by water, which is a constant source of life. Trusting Him as our source means that our roots are healthy, and even when drought comes, whether spiritually or naturally, we will always be fruitful.
If we have anything affecting or infecting our root (our spirit), we have to take care of it. Sinful actions, thoughts, words, and relationships must be severed. It takes courage to deal with the problems areas in ourselves and in our lives in general, but when we’re abiding in the true vine of Jesus Christ, we have the courage to face issues. We also have the Holy Spirit to lead us in our actions and speech, empowering us to operate in truth, love, and God’s grace.
Blessings and Love,