Rants, Musings, and Mental Meanderings of a former Conservative Christian Mother. Standing Strong against ignorance, preconceptions, labels and excessive housework. Celebrating original thought, religious freedom, parenthood, free enterprise and chocolate.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Contempt For Things Broken

Every once in a while, an illustration that the pastor uses will just really hit me. While we were up north this past weekend, the pastor was saying that people have, by nature, a contempt for things broken. He told us about a rubber mallet he bought, used once, and SNAP! Off broke the handle. He sawed it off, shaved it down, and used the handle to fix a hammer. While using the hammer, a knot in the wood of the handle came loose and caused the hammer to be lopsided. He said you would swing it, and it would just flail around wildly. By now he was so frustrated he went to his table saw and proceeded to saw the handle into pieces! He said he was just so fed up with that handle, that he destroyed it beyond the point of any usefulness. He then pointed out that, although we laugh at that story, many of us act exactly that way with the broken people we come across in our lives. How many of us shrink away from a drug user, roll our eyes in disgust at a teenager aborting her second baby in two years, write off an errant child who makes a series of stupid decisions, or gossip about a woman whose marriage falls apart due to unfaithfulness. Why is it we have such a contempt and disgust for broken lives? The Bible says, "A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench." More plainly, God doesn't kick you when you're down. Christians, are we so wrapped up in our own "righteousness" that we forget that our whole purpose here on earth is to reach out to others? Do we look at those still ensnared in sin with disgust? If so, shame on you. It is only by the grace of God that you and I are not in their shoes. If we were truly aware of how much of God's grace is involved in making us who we are, we would be so overcome with humility and gratitude to the Lord that there would be no room for the pious pride that seems to be the lifeblood of so many so-called Christians. I know so many Christians who have in fact been a stumbling block to their family and friends because, rather than reaching out to them and seeking to win them, they had to make sure everyone knew how disgusted they were with their "wicked ways." I know many will immediately pipe up with, "But we can't condone their sin!" To be honest, that answer is just a lazy way out. There are many ways we can reach out to the hurting and broken without enabling their lifestyle. I know I have made the personal commitment to try to be aware of this in my own life. It is not our call when someone has "thrown their life away." As long as they are living, no matter how bad it gets, it is our responsibility to fight to the end, even if all we can do is pray. When we stand before the Lord, we will give an account of those whom we had the chance to reach and are lost because we thought we did the spiritual thing by proudly displaying our contempt for things broken.


Sissy said...

I think all to often we forget that these broken lives will usually make the best Christians. The worse off you were before you met Jesus the more thankful you are for his mercy. We sing a song at church called "When I think about the Lord" I always love it no matter how much we sing it because it does remind me of where I was and where I still could be if not for the Lord's grace!

Anonymous said...

Thank you SISTER !
Preach it often...God has used your/His words today to encourage me to a deeper walk in love for others. Yes it is easy to forget we were fools once too...BUT GOD !

Anonymous said...

The world gets it--why oh why can't Christians? Found this via the Mary Janes Farm Girl Chat-

I was reading Miss Manners in the paper this week and decided this particular advice Miss Manners gave was worth repeating to my girlfriends. I thought she really nailed it and I’ve decided to make mental note myself!

An activist that really disagrees with the mining of diamonds asked Miss Manners how she should handle her many friends getting diamond engagement rings.

“I am happy for all my friends’ engagements, but when they go and show me the diamond and ask my opinion on the ring (i.e., “Isn’t it beautiful?”), I really want to explain my position on these stones."

Miss Manners replied:

“Miss Manners assures you that people do not absorb moral lessons from those who trample on their feelings. Rather, they forever associate the unpleasantness of the spokesperson with the cause itself.

So if the certainty that you would hurt your friends’ feelings is not enough to satisfy you into mere murmured politeness, how about the certainty that you would hurt your cause?”


Angela said...

Thank you all so much for sharing! It is so true that the best Christians are those who have a real awareness of how far God has brought them.

I really like that quote "People do not absorb moral lessons from those who trample their feelings. Rather they forever associate the unleasantness of the spokesperson with the cause itself." Supposedly Gandhi said, "I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians. Christians today are so unlike your Christ." How many people do you know that use this excuse? Obviously this is wrong on their part, to write off all God has done for them because of the hypocrisy of some. But at the same time, we Christians need to be careful that we are not "trampling the feelings" of those we are trying to win!! It is important that we maintain Christlikness both in living holy lives as well as demonstrating an unconditional love and compassion for others.