Friday, August 8, 2008

#2 Innocent Fun?

Isaiah 42:3 "A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice."

I can recall once again when I was a young boy, and again spending some time with my grandparents. My granddad owned and operated a salvage yard or junk yard as we called it. His junk yard was spread over about 10 acres and was split by a small patch of woods not quite down the middle. On the back side of the junk yard was where my granddad kept the cars with fewer parts on them. These cars were much more stripped of their useful pieces but still had some value. One component that most of these cars contained was their windshields and side glasses. One day a childhood friend and I decided that it would be a great idea to take a little walk to the back side of the junk yard and mess around a little. Once we got there we had the idea to take rocks and throw them through the various car windshields and back glasses. It was thrilling to take 5 and 10 pound rocks and smash them through the windows of those decrepit old cars. We did this to about 15 or 20 cars all alongside one row of the cars. Afterwards, we did not think about what we did very much until a few days later when I was back home and my granddad called my mom. My granddad was very upset and he asked my mom to see if me and my friend had any knowledge of the damage. I was suddenly struck with an overwhelming sense of fear. My heart sank as I had to tell my mom what I had done. You see, to me those old cars were just junkers that were left there to rot away, but to my granddad they represented his only source of income. Unknowingly, my friend and I had robbed my granddad of almost $2,000 dollars in potential income. He later explained to me that those cars were like having money in the bank, and that he only discovered that the windows had been broken out because a man came by and wanted to buy a windshield out of one of them. When he went to take it out he found it smashed into a million little, useless pieces. Not only did he loose the sale, but my granddad was heartbroken to think that I was so careless in the way that I treated his property. My mother, being the diligent soul that she is, took it upon herself to give me a very painful reminder on my backside. The spanking hurt for a few hours-yes I said hours-but the most painful part was knowing that I had hurt my granddad whom I loved as my own father.

There are so many times in our lives that we do not give ample thought to the paths upon which we walk. I know that many of us have the most innocent of intentions when we set out to do some things, but we sometimes misstep and forget to consider all the ramifications of our actions. That was certainly the case for me and my friend when we set out to kill the boredom of a summer afternoon. There may be some of you who read this tonight or in the next couple of days who may need to go make some things right in your life. Perhaps you spoke a word in anger or in sheer jest, but your words struck right to the heart of someone you love and cherish. And you may be like me and not even realize that you have bruised the heart or spirit of another. Isaiah reminds us in 42:3 that the Lord will faithfully bring forth justice to those who hurt, and I am a firm believer that we should partner with the Lord in trying to help those who are hurting. This is especially true if we are the one who has brought about that hurt. Is it easy? Not hardly. When I saw my granddad again after the windshield incident I was so afraid that he would still be angry with me and that he would not love me anymore. Nothing could have been further from the truth. I sheepishly walked up to him to tell him I was sorry for breaking all those windshields and he just pulled me close and said that he forgave me. I was so relieved to discover that he did not hate me or that he was not still upset at me. Too often in our adult lives we fear what others will think of us if we were to go back and try to make things right, but the reward of facing those types of challenges can be so redeeming. Will everyone welcome us with open arms and say, "It's alright. Don't worry about it"? Of course not, but I think we have an obligation as Christians to attempt to live in peace with those around us to such extent as is possible. We must do our part and then leave it with the Lord to work on the heart of the other party.

Are there people in your life that you have offended with careless or harsh words? Maybe it is time to call them or go see them and attempt to make it right. We are living in a time that truly seems to be the last generation of this earth's history. For sure, no man knows the day or the hour, but the signs clearly point to a world in turmoil. Why not be ready to meet the Lord by not having any outstanding social debts so to speak. Pray and ask the Lord to give you guidance and courage to go to those whom you may have hurt. The Holy Spirit is readily available to each one of us. All we need is a greater capacity to accept the Spirit of God in our lives. May the Lord give you a desire to right all the wrongs in your life today.

Heavenly Father,
We need you so very much in our lives. No matter who we are or what our station is in this life, we need You. We need Your love, Your warmth, Your kindness, Your patience, and many other attributes that can only be manifested in our lives as a result of a saving relationship with You. Please forgive us each one as we have failed You and each other. We know that You do not want us to bruise the spirit of any of Your children, so please grant us the courage that we need to seek to reconcile with those that we may have hurt. We thank You also for another Sabbath, and we look forward to worshipping You with our fellow believers in the hours that lie ahead of us. Please come very soon to take us to be with You Lord Jesus. We long to see Your face and to feel Your arms of love around us.
It is in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord that we pray, Amen.

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