Wednesday, January 14, 2004
During our Mission Alaska trip to young Native Alaskans, I spent a lot of time in a little missionary aircraft. It's the only way to get to villages that are 400 miles from the nearest road! One day when the weather wasn't much fun, our pilot asked me to keep an eye on the wing on my side. He said, "Let me know if you see any icing." Of course, I hear "icing" and I think of a birthday cake. A pilot hears icing, and he thinks danger in the air. Amazingly, a little ice on the wings adds just enough weight to endanger the plane. It interrupts the airflow that keeps the plane airborne, and it starts losing altitude. So that day over Alaska, I really kept my eyes open for ice!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The High Price of a Little Ice."
Now, it doesn't take much ice on the wings to cause an airplane to start losing altitude. It doesn't take much ice in your soul to cause you to start losing altitude - to start going down spiritually.
Our word today from the Word of God addresses some of the attitudes and the reactions that start an ice buildup in your heart. Beginning in Ephesians 4:26, Paul says, "In your anger, do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry."
A little anger accumulating in your heart; hard feelings that aren't immediately confronted and resolved. Hey, how dangerous can that be? About as dangerous to your relationship with God and with that other person as a little ice on an airplane's wings. Listen to what God says about it. "And do not give the devil a foothold." Unresolved anger, even for a day, gives the devil a wide open door to bring you down!
Then God tells us to take radical action against other destructive feelings. "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice." In other words, God says get rid of it! Attack it - the resentment you've allowed to build up inside you, the jealousy, the unforgiveness, the anger.
God knows you can't remove the ice in your soul without replacing it with something warm. So He tells you to treat the people who have angered or aggravated or hurt you exactly the opposite of the way you feel like treating them. He says, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you."
See, those last few words are the key. You make a conscious decision to remove the walls and treat that person, not as they have treated you, but as Jesus has treated you - with undeserved grace and forgiveness. Until you reach out to God for the grace to forgive that person, to treat them with compassion, and kindness, and gentleness - you will keep going down. And ultimately the weight of that ice in your soul will make you crash in your relationship with God and in your relationship with other people.
Be as vigilant about that ice in your soul as a pilot is about ice on the wings. And do not let it build up for even a day! If you do, it will ultimately bring down a relationship, a marriage, a family, a church, a ministry. And it will bring down your walk with God. There's a very high price for a little ice.