Sunday, April 5, 2009

Stumbling Blocks (or Should I say, Beams?)

I was meditating recently on the scripture about the mote and the beam.  It occurred to me that the one who is supposed to take the beam out of his eye so that he could see to remove the mote from his brother's eye may have a bigger problem on his hands. The brother with the mote can see clearly enough to be majorly distracted by the beam, and he may not want to listen to the owner thereof.

Like all Christian parents, I desire to bring my children up in the instruction and admonition of the Lord.  Realistically, this is not always the reality.  Why is this so?  Often  because of beams.  Beams cause a huge stumbling block because they are so distracting!  What do I mean by beams?  Let me explain with the following true story:

My son David yelled at Jonathan when he tried to take the blocks David was playing with. Johnny immediately looked at David and said "no!".  I could see that he knew David shouldn't be yelling at him.  It occurred to me that suddenly Johnny was unable to be instructed because he was confronted with David's raised voice.  I put my hands gently on David's face (Proverbs 15:1) and let him know what I had observed. David then began to deal gently with Jonathan and peace looked like a possibility ;-).

In this example, Jonathan was unable to receive David's communication to stop taking his blocks because he tripped over the beam of the raised voice.

Time and time again in our house I observe this principle.  And I can see that one of two things are needed.  The beam either needs to be removed, or the observer of the beam needs to be distracted from the beam.  There is one cure-all which never fails.  The distraction of love and gentleness feeds the hungry heart with fuel to lay aside beams and to love the crippled beam-people who abide on every corner of our globe.

A wise preacher (I think it may have been Paul Washer) once said that the proud or insecure person will not open up to anyone but the gentle.  Jesus, who is "gentle and humble in heart", is ultimately the solution to all of our heart woes, as He makes us new creatures who are part of His marvelous Body.  However, we have a huge role to play with each other.  As we display His heart to one another, we spur one another on toward a beamless society (let me dream, okay?).

I have told my husband again and again, "You have so much power!"  All you have to do is say one gentle word to me when I am a porcupine.  And all the pointy beams disappear.  But what happens instead so often?  We stay away from the crippled beam-people.  We think "what's gotten into them?"  We isolate them or give them the cold-shoulder.

Does this mean that we are not personally responsible to overcome our own emotional difficulties?  O contrare!  We are to "take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ".  But being personally responsible does not negate our responsibility to help each other.  When I tell my kids they are responsible for their actions, I mean it.  Yet I will do eveything in my power to help them toward that goal.  Allowing them the freedom to fail, while influencing them to make right choices is so critical.

My point is this:  It is easier to insert the love of Christ into a situation when you are not "in the thick of it".  I'm talking to the mommies here - especially me.  Often we instead insert the stern law again and again, which may bring us into an understanding of our guilt, but it has no power to influence right decisions.  The law helps us to recognize our sin, but the love of Christ motivates us to be overcomers.  To love the beam-people, instead of bopping them, or crying out "beam me up Lord!".  :-).