Tuesday, October 5, 2004
I was on a mission in England and Ireland, and I actually had a day to spend in the historic English city of York. What a place! It's surrounded by a medieval wall actually and it's dominated by a cathedral that might be second only to Westminster Abbey in London. There was an unusual scene out in front, because there was an artist on his knees, painstakingly working on a chalk drawing on the sidewalk in front of the cathedral. When I was closer and I looked at it, it was the Mona Lisa. It was immediately recognizable. He must have been working on it all day, and it was beautifully done. As I went inside a restaurant, I saw that the artist had left. Within minutes, a little boy came up, and he intentionally ran over the artwork, stomped back and forth and made footprints all over it. Other kids followed him. They did the same thing. They had just trampled all over the work of an artist who had worked very hard on it. It hurts to see someone doing that.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Trampling on a Masterpiece."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Ephesians 4:29-30. "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God." God is saying don't tear down somebody with your words. Don't trample them with your words. Why does it bother Him so much? Why does it grieve and break the heart of the Holy Spirit of God?
You have to go back to Ephesians 2:10. It says, "We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which He prepared in advance for us to do." God is working on this unique masterpiece creation in every person. He has a job for them to do. He's trying to build them up and help them know what that job is. In a world that tears down our worth so much, He's trying to get them to believe they are the workmanship He created in Christ Jesus. No matter how difficult that person may be, or how obscured the work of God might be, God is trying to finish a work of art in someone He created. That's why it hurts Him so much when we trample on one of those masterpieces in progress.
In angry, impatient or critical moments, have you maybe left some verbal footprints on your son or daughter? Social scientists tell us that our kids need seven positives to come back to zero after they have heard just one negative. We never forget the names that we're called by a parent, or things we are accused of by a parent. I'm sure you haven't forgotten. Every time you fired careless words at your husband or your wife when you're tired, or you want to win or you want to get your way, you've been ripping a person God is trying to build.
What about the attacks that the other person doesn't even hear? Maybe damaging words have been said at work, or at church, among friends, behind their back. You're still trampling on God's work, marking them up in the eyes of others. We don't usually do trampling with our feet; we do it with our mouth. I can still visualize those footprints on that artist's skillful work in front of the cathedral. It was ugly. It's ugly when you do it to somebody else with your mouth.
Maybe it's time you did something about the footprints you have left on a masterpiece of God. Maybe it's time you go back and make it right, and make a commitment to not ever again let your mouth mark up the artwork of God.