So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger… Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:25-26; 31-32
As I was reflecting on this Scripture for Sunday morning I was struck by the image of a robin’s nest I saw four years ago. I was wielding my electric hedge trimmers a little recklessly on a hot, hot afternoon, taming some bushes that had gotten wild. I brought them through the boxwood and was startled by a beautiful nest with three perfect blue eggs inside. It was lying hidden only an inch or two below the arbitrary line I’d picked for the bushes. If I had brought the trimmers any lower I would’ve shredded it apart, cracked the eggs, and ruined things. Yet there it sat, unharmed.
Sometimes in our relationships with one another we test boundaries. We test the sincerity of people’s affection for us; we challenge assumptions; we set traps. I’ve come to believe that we engage in this behavior because, on some level, we believe the person or situation we are challenging to be indestructible or impervious to our actions. However, there is simply no relationship, institution, or individual church which is truly invulnerable. Almost everything can be broken.
We each wield enormous power to do good or to do harm. God grants us freedom of will. God gives us strength and capabilities, and then we get to choose how to use them. Would we behave the same way if we were mindful to our ability to hurt, wound, or destroy? An inch or two separated my hedge trimmer from these three would-be robins. The smallest margins sometimes preserve life and offer strength. How will you use your gifts today – to build up or to tear down?
Keep the faith,