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13 December 2007

In Which I Use the Root Word "Pockmark" Three Times in One Paragraph

(...and I get to the real point in the fourth paragraph.)

Last Saturday night before our Christmas musical theatre (yes, with an "re") presentation opened, I went outside the building to look at the front of the building and, with the help of some friends, to implement and adjust some lighting in order to make the building have a more inviting look. The windows around the sanctuary, usually clear and lighted from within, had been covered so that the lighting inside the building could have maximum controlled effect during the performance. This led to a pretty dark-looking building outside.

I was examining some of the lights mounted on the outside of the building and immediately noticed spider webs in them. I peered closely at one of the doors and saw that the paint was beginning to crack with age around the edges. I looked up over the main front entrance, at the large wooden cross in the center of a stained-glass sort of window, and I noticed that, at the very top, it was spotted with dirt, and cobwebs from were visible even from my vantage point on the ground.

Now, don't get the impression that our building is filthy. It's actually not that bad, and these little areas of arachnid deposits and spatterings of dirt are not things that I've noticed before. I'm certainly not suggesting that anyone has been neglecting the cleaning of the building's exterior. These items caught my eye because I was looking at the appearance of our building in an effort to see it through the eyes of a first-time visitor.

I know from experience that there have been dirty spots in my life that I learned to just live with rather than correcting. Assuming you've been in that boat with me at some point, these things might be "small" sins, personality traits that are grating to the rest of the world but hunky-dory ("fine") to us, questionable personal motives, etc.

Areas like this may have become transparent to us due to repeated practice, but chances are great that they are not transparent to everyone around us. Do we have pockmarked lives that send signals to our co-workers, spouses, children, and others that we don't even know we're sending? Do those pockmarks show the new nature that we, as followers of Christ, have been given (like... uh... good pockmarks or something), or do they reveal areas of our lives that we've not given over to Him?

In 1 Timothy 4:16, Paul says, "Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you."

As I noted yesterday, truly loving people can take a serious act of will. Changing our patterns of behavior, particularly the little areas we sometimes don't even notice, is no different.


Anonymous said...

I, personally, am painfully aware of the majority of my pockmarks. That's the major thing that keeps me from confronting sin in other peoples lives - as the Bible says we ought. I know also about the "take the speck out of your own eye before you point out the beam in your brothers". Well, I suppose that's what I do - excecpt for the taking care of my own speck part. I tend to use this as an excuse to, I don't know, not really accept or tolerate others sins, but my own, I suppose.

I read a book that pointed out to me that a lot of my strangeness is perfectly natural!? Callie said that now I have an excuse for being the way I am b/c I have been validated by a professional. Well, I think we all search for validation rather than repentence. Some things we can't change b/c that's how God intends us to be, but many things, I think, we just brush off as impossible or as our personality type or genetic, etc. Cobwebs - I have a few - and they are holding all of the old stuff that I just don't seem to want to let go of - for who knows what reason!

As far as visitors noticiing those things - I don't think they would b/c most visitors at churches are there to get in and get out. But God looks at our hearts that closely and intently on a daily basis! That's what matters the most. What is He seeing?

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