Friday, February 5, 2010

FRAGILE! HANDLE WITH CARE!


"Singing cheerful songs to a person with a heavy heart is like taking someone’s coat in cold weather or pouring vinegar in a wound." (Proverbs 25:20, NLT)

Most days, I go through my life with a grateful heart. Despite the fact that our family bears many burdens and a seemingly disproportionate amount of trials, I am ever-aware that we could be living in some 3rd world country, homeless, poorly-clothed & starving. Nevertheless, no person is at the top of their game every day. We all have days where we're worn out, fed up, sad, angry or confused. I try to be transparent on days like this, so other parents know they're not alone in their journey. There is something strengthening about knowing that others can identify with our challenges.

Inevitably, on those days, there's always the individual who thinks it is their duty or God-given right to set you straight. There are the comments like, "It could be worse...", which only manages to discredit and minimize your valid struggles. And then there is the, "God doesn't want us to have a pity party...", which is usually not backed-up by any sort of biblical truth and takes on an air of spiritual superiority. Worst of all are the accusations of "Maybe there's some unconfessed sin in your life that hasn't been dealt with." Far from helping, any of these glib remarks can sting and even throw kerosene on your fire! Be assured, none of them are truth from the mouth of your Savior.

Here is truth to equip you the next time an ignorant, albeit well-intentioned person comes at you on a down day. First, when you are having a rough start, crack out your Bible and dress for the occasion. Ephesians 6:12-18 describes the full armor of God to protect you from hurtful and false things people throw at you on these days. When people say ridiculous things like, "You're too blessed to be stressed," let those flaming arrows bounce off your shield of faith.

Second, know that God's word is PACKED with admonition of how people are really supposed to treat us on those weak days. In Romans 12:15 (NIV) we're told, "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." Galatians 6:2 (NIV) says, "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." The list of quotes from God's word could continue on. In his book When Bad Christians Happen to Good People: Where We Have Failed Each Other and How to Reverse the Damage, Dave Burchett brings to the reader's attention that we get Christianity so wrong so often because we miss that the heart of Jesus' message is love. It is not too much to expect that others would demonstrate God's tenderness and mercy when you're not feeling your strongest.

Third, know that there are big names in the Bible who have struggled just like you. In Exodus 17:11-12 we see that Aaron and Hur helped Moses by seating him and holding up his arms when he couldn't, so the battle would be won. In 1 Samuel 1 we see how God was patient and merciful with Hannah, granting her the child she had long desired. In 1 Kings 19 Elijah runs for his life and becomes greatly discouraged. While he is weak, God nourishes him tenderly and equips him for the journey. When people behave in such ways towards you, welcome them in and accept their blessings. The rest, tune out as so much useless noise.

The other day, I had another mother say to me, "God never gives us more than we can handle - Now THAT'S something you never hear people say in the first person!" Remember that too often, most people who have not walked your journey lack the ability to comprehend your difficulties. Perhaps on days like these, we should all just walk around wearing labels like I see on our shipping boxes, "Fragile! Handle With Care!"

1 comment:

  1. Sine you mentioned the old testemant I am going to add my judaic two cents. In addition to the Biblical admonition to speak kindly, there is a rabbinical prohibition of lahon hara or to speak evil. To take away the acknowledgment of someone's struggle, to say mean or hurthful or belittling things to them is lashon hara. Also saying without thinking how the other person will react is lashon hara, because we are then talking for ourselves and not to help those in need. We are commanded to leave this world a better place then when we entered it, we call it tikkun olam. You violate God's law of tikkun olam if you practice lashon hara.

    ReplyDelete