Look at any forest and you can spot the exceptions. Tall towering spires standing there with a skyward reach frozen in time. The dark gray and black trunks contrast against the blanket of green all around them. You know instantly that there is no life within. Others may feed on them, but of their self, nothing will ever grow again. They are dead to all.
Evil plays itself out differently in real life. We often assume that the rich businessmen only got to their position by lying and backstabbing. Though this may frequently be true, it is not automatic! The same assumptions flow over to those in advertising, law, and politics. I am not sure that any profession is immune. Perhaps the professions are not the primary problem; maybe the disease belongs to us all. Are we unknowingly carry dead wood on our backs?
God noted, more as a fact that we often forget than as a warning, that “liars secretly hoard hatred; fools openly spread slander.” (Proverbs 10.18) These are the dead wood of society.
Sadly, our natural tendency is to cut corners. One of the easiest ways to do this is to cut those around us and to plot our revenge. Hatred towards another in any form is destructive to both parties. Even if you or I do not act, our behavior changes.
Fortunately, the forest gives us an insight to how God begins to respond to us, if we stretch the metaphors. First, God allows and provides for others through our lack of growth. Birds, insects, and small animals find a home in the tree that is no longer growing. God teaches others through our mistakes and lives, good or bad.
Second, it is in death that the seed begins a new cycle of life. By dying a new tree finds room to grow. Often it is from a seed of the one that died. God offers you and I life through His seed and son. It is in dying that we live. We may be dead, but through God, we live!