Why Jesus compared unforgiveness to the Sycamine Tree
"If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this Sycamine Tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea." Luke 17:6
When we understand what is connected to the Sycamine tree, we will know exactly why Jesus chose to use this tree as an example of bitterness and unforgiveness.
Let's look at some of the characteristics of the Sycamine tree.
First, the sycamine tree had a very large and deep root structure. One of the deepest root structures in the Middle East, growing 30 feet or more. Because the root structure went down so far, it was hard to kill, it would just keep spraining back up.
Bitterness and unforgiveness is like that. The roots go down deep, and fit's not dealt with at the root, it will keep springing back up. Some offenses that lay hidden deep in the heart, will just keep spraining back up if there is not a serious decision to rip the roots of bitterness and unforgiveness out.
Second, the Sycamine tree's wood was preferred for building caskets and coffins. It grew quickly in many different places, so it was easily accessible. It grew best in dry conditions.
Just as the Sycamine tree grows quickly, so does bitterness and unforgiveness. Fast growing ugly attitudes are allowed to grow freely, and spoil the condition of the heart. These negative attitudes grow best in dry spiritual conditions and are deadly. Bitterness and unforgiveness is daddy and if entertained they will kill your joy, steal your peace and cancel out your spiritual life.
Third, the Sycamine tree produced a fig that was very bitter to eat. It could not be eaten whole, it had to be nibbled on a little bit at a time.
Jesus is letting us know that the fruit of bitterness and unforgiveness is bitter. Most people who are bitter and filled with unforgiveness, chew on their feelings for a long time. They continue to think and meditate on what has happened, internalizing their feelings and becoming bitter and sout people, making them sick and depressed.
Fourth, the Sycamine tree was pollinated only by wasps. This tree had to be stung in order to reproduce.
How many times have you heard a bitter person say, "I've been stung by that person once, it will not happen again?" These people have been "stung" by a situation and their hearts have been pollinated by bitterness and unforgiveness.
Jesus said to get rid of this you need "faith the slice of a mustard seed." A great amount of faith is not needed to speak to the bitterness and unforgiveness telling it you are not going to be this way any longer. Forgive and change.