Life is filled with pains; some minor, some major, and some just irritating. Having survived some 38 years now I have had a few pains along the way. One type of pain that can be tricky to deal with is a splinter. Some call it a sliver but I grew up hearing the word splinter and will most likely stay with it. When I think of a sliver I have visions of pie pieces that have been cut too small. They reach a point where they cease to be pieces of pie and simply become slivers. Slivers that do little more than make you want more pie because you really wanted a piece all along. But I digress. Pie is not my point...back to splinters.
In the various jobs and projects I have worked on over the course of my life I have had wood and metal splinters. There's nothing like having a piece of lumber slide through your hands only to come to an abrupt stop because a splinter of wood embedded in your flesh. Or if you have ever been drilling through a piece of metal you've seen the spiral-shaped metal that is peeled out of the hole. Sometimes when you're drilling or cutting metal the shavings are really, really small and look more like dust than tiny pieces of metal.
In my questionably humble opinion, the small splinters are the worst. I would much rather--if I have to get a splinter--have a larger piece of wood or metal that I can easily see, easily remove, and easily discard. But there have been times that I really did not notice I even had a splinter until my clothing catches it just the right way or unless I happen to place pressure on that portion of my hand in some way. There you are going about your business and then "Ouch!" You have a brief stabbing pain run through your body. Upon further inspection you cannot even see what happened. Sometimes it has taken me days to actually dig around with a needle or pin to find the little rascal. I always feel a special sense of satisfaction and relief once those pesky little ninja splinters are gone from my body.
In a similar way some of our relationships resemble splinters. Yes, some people sort of jab or pierce us in a hurtful way. Most times it's rather obvious to me when someone doesn't like me or the way that I do something. Other times we cannot really tell that we are being pierced by someone because they are subtle about their dislike of us. Maybe they smile to our face then run us down to others. And many times we are not even aware that we are being "poked" until an event causes a "snag". Then we suddenly realize that all is not well. We are then faced with the realization that something is sticking us and perhaps we've been sticking someone else unawares. Yes, some of our relationships are like the ninja splinters.
But far more important than removing a foreign object from our finger is removing the foreign objects from our character and from our relationships. Let me say this, "Some relationships will never be mended." Why? Simply because not everyone wants to make amends. Some people are so stubborn, arrogant, and prideful that they refuse to budge. They do this while expecting everyone else to bend and change around for them.
As Christians we have an obligation to try to make things right with people. Jesus often urged His followers to work through things. He urged us to forgive and to seek forgiveness. Ultimately, Jesus gave us all the counsel and teaching that we need to be prepared to live with Him forever in heaven and in the new earth. The big question is, "Will you take the time to dig out the splinters or just let them stay while infection sets in?" We all know that infection breeds death and Christ has not come to destroy us but rather to give us eternal life. The choice is yours, which will you choose?
Dear Father God,
Today, I thank You for splinters. Not because I like getting them but because it reminds me that it's better to dig out the splinter and endure a little pain there instead of living with it and suffering infection and death. Please teach us to lean on You, Lord, in all that we do. May we always know that we can trust You to help us through each struggle and through each difficult relationship. Give us the courage to dig out the splinters of our relationships and character that we might be prepared for eternity with You and that You might be glorified through all that we do. We pray now in Jesus' name, Amen!