Friday, July 22, 2011

The Way Out

Are you a fan of A. A. Milne's books about Christopher Robin and his stuffed animal friends? If so, you will enjoy the new Winnie the Pooh movie. A subplot of the story (I won't give away the main plot) has Winnie the Pooh helping to dig a pit to trap a fearsome (imaginary) animal. As one might expect, Pooh and all his friends fall into it themselves.  However--as one might also expect--by the end of the story, they escape from the pit, their other problems are beautifully solved, and they seem poised to live happily ever after.

Can you and I escape as easily from the deep pits we might be in? Probably not. But Pooh and his companions did something that anyone in a pit should do. They looked up a lot . . . not down. The one thing we can't afford to do is focus on our problems and our feelings. Of course, we need to consider the situation carefully and make a plan for fixing it. However, once we've made that plan, we'd better get on with life, as much as possible. 

Dwelling continually on fixing your problems or healing your heart will not make it happen any faster. In fact, the more you focus on them, the more miserable and hopeless you’ll become. Focus on where you want to go, not the place you want to leave. Focus on the things you were created to focus on—God and others. As you put your trust in God and follow him, you will find your pit getting shallower and shallower.

 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight (Prov. 3:5-6).

 18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun,
shining ever brighter till the full light of day (Prov. 4:18).

Monday, July 11, 2011

Helpful Truth

A thought that just gelled for me a few days ago:

The truth, not spoken in love, comes across like a battering ram. Love is the bridge between me and others, which allows the truth I speak to walk across, looking like a friend.

How to make the love felt? I will need to preface my statements with “I don’t want to offend you,” or “May I say something as a friend?” or “May I make a suggestion?”--spoken with friendly ease. 

. . . that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Eph. 4:14-16).

Notice that the apostle Paul refers to growth twice in this passage--and that both times he links it with love. So, it's not just speaking truth to others that causes them to flourish--it must be mixed with love.