Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Last Straw

Proverbs 26:17
Like one who takes a dog by the ears Is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him. (NASB)

All my life I’ve heard about “The Straw That Broke The Camel’s Back”. In our fast-paced, unrelenting, world we pick up offences easily, and quickly. They fill the invisible baskets on our backs – from the discourteous stranger driving next to us on the freeway, to our closest family member or friend – everyone has and freely uses the power to offend.

A few days ago a flaw in my integrity was brought to my attention. A close and trusted individual ask me if I was aware of how many times I had disappointed them. Shocked – I responded with, “What do you mean?” They answered my question with brutal detail, and all I should have done was gently ask them to forgive me.

Do you think that’s what happened?

No – This story does not end that simply. Immediately upon hearing their “legitimate” complaints, my defenses kicked in and the tit-for-tat list came gushing out of my being like an unstoppable desert flash-flood. All that could be done at that point was “get out of the way”. For the better part of the day I was in a dark, depressing, and very stormy mood.

This camel’s back was burdened down to the limit. The baskets were already overflowing, then it happened. The straw – The last straw – The straw that broke the camel’s back: “How can you be a Pastor, and get so frustrated?”

Before anyone gets the wrong idea and stops reading, the flaw in my integrity is: I take on more projects than I can complete in specific time frames. Does anyone else find themselves, long on good intentions, but short on time to complete projects?

James 3:2
For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. (KJV)

None of us is perfect. We are all human and subject to the many mistakes available daily. We always have reason to forgive and be forgiven. How do we drop the offences and accept the forgiveness? It is all bound to the abundance of our heart. On any given day we ALL (ministers included) walk the fine line between Saint and Sinner. Are we feeding our flesh and gorging ourselves on the All-You-Can-Eat Buffett of offences, or are we feeding our spirit the Life-Giving-Word of the Father?

Luke 6:45
45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. (NIV)

My goal, and I’m sure your goal, is to be trees of righteousness producing good fruit as-well-as being springs of living water refreshing to all. The key is walking in the power of forgiveness. We must forgive ourselves and freely offer forgiveness to ALL those who have offended us. Being able to do that requires us to “Let Go” – Casting ALL our cares upon the Lord.

The truth is we learn more from our failures than we do from our successes. God will wake us up and call us back to Him. As we experience this ongoing process our down turns become fewer and farther between until the day we see ourselves in the image of Christ. His love working in us will replace the Flash-Flood of our frustration with the cool, sweet, eternally thirst-quenching water of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 10:8
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. (KJV)

Lay down the offences of the day. Don’t be afraid to knock the rough edges from our friends by sharing open and honest feelings, and when we are the ones being sharpened, respond with Grace, Love, FORGIVENESS, and patience.

Proverbs 27:17
17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. (KJV)

We are our brother’s keeper. Accountability does not condemn it offers Grace and forgiveness – Two lanes of the same highway. The road that leads to righteousness, peace and love is paved with accountability.

Thanks for holding me to the High Standard – I’ll hold you there as well. Forgive and be Forgiven. 

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