Last week we were exploring the mountains with some friends when Connie wanted me to stop so she could take a picture. She saw a bloom she loved so much–purple and fluffy–that she wanted a plant just like it and asked if there was a shovel we could use to dig it up.
I kept trying to see what flower, exactly, she was talking about, because I’d seen a lot of blooming weeds but no pretty purple flower. I backed the car until she saw the bloom and took a picture. She was right. It was pretty. And I’d seen even prettier blooms than this one, purple and glorious. But it was a thistle. A weed. Now, I know milk thistle has healing properties, but we also know that a thistle is a cursed plant from the beginning of time.
But we were in a beautiful valley that none of us had ever seen before, and naturally we expected to see only the beauty that day. In fact, the valley was so beautiful I’m going to include it in my Wyoming novel series.
But I won’t include the thistles.
Connie not only rejected the plant, but she also rejected the pictures of the plant, so Mel and I went back out yesterday to find more for pictures. We found plenty. That’s because once you’ve got thistle in a place, it will spread. If Connie had brought a small plant of pretty thistles home with her and planted it in her desert landscaping, in time those thistles might have overtaken everything. It’s what weeds do.
There are beautiful things in this world that are not good for us. There are animals that are beautiful but dangerous. They might look cuddly and cute, but wild animals are just that–wild. And dangerous.
There are people in this world who are beautiful or charismatic or who promise great fun, and you might be so impressed that you just want to befriend them, attach to them hoping their beauty or effervescence will rub off on you. But you might want to take a closer look, do a little more research, even ask trusted friends before you make any kind of gesture toward these new people. I’m not saying not to make new friends–we’ve certainly made plenty of new friends–but just like thistles, some people can be bright and beautiful and you want to take them home with you, but beware. Thistles can choke out the good plants. Beautiful people with bad motives or ungodly behavior can choke out the good you see in them, and choke out the good in you if you give them a foothold.
These beautiful people, fun though they might be, need your prayers and compassion, but you need not allow them to drag you off the path you walk with God. Beauty can be so enticing. Look past appearance. Even Satan can appear as an angel of light.