Wednesday, November 18, 2009
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With the population of our family increasing with the arrival of each new grandchild, our ability to accommodate everybody was shrinking. So we added a couple of rooms that have served us well in some memorable family get-togethers. But we had to correct one thing. As we looked at the staircase that a lot of little legs (including mine) would be climbing, we didn't like the sharp edges we saw on one of the boards along and at the bottom of the staircase. We had to take care of those before someone got hurt on them.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Sharp Edges."
Needless to say, we rounded off those sharp edges because people we love could get hurt on them. The problem is that too many of us have sharp edges that we never deal with; edges that continue to hurt people we care about. It's those sharp edges in our personality, in the way we react to people, in the way we treat people sometimes. And you can't just let those sharp edges stay there. They've already done enough damage, haven't they?
Maybe you get sharp and hurtful when you're tired, or when you're interrupted, or when something or someone messes up the way you had it planned. It could be that you become cutting and harsh when you're really stressed, or really frustrated, or when you don't get your way. I know where my buttons are that bring out my worst. I suspect you know where yours are, too. But for the sake of those we love, isn't it time we really finally did something about the sharp edges that keep cutting them?
Our word for today from the Word of God calls us to be known for a trait that was so there in our Lord Jesus. Philippians 4:5 says, "Let your gentleness be evident to all." Is it? Would folks who know you best call you gentle? Or are they getting verbally roughed up by you all too often? Colossians 3 describes the new you that's supposed to be the result of you knowing Jesus personally. It says, "As God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." That's the personality wardrobe that folks should always see you in, because you look good in it.
Sometimes you may not realize the power of your words; power to heal, power to wound, to build up or to tear down, to make a person feel valuable or worthless. In fact, Proverbs 18:21 says, "the tongue has the power of life and death." With the words you say, you can make someone either feel dead or alive inside. And listen to what God says our sharp edges can do: "Reckless words pierce like a sword" (Proverbs 12:18). We know that's true. We've been pierced with that sword many times ourselves. Then why must we continually wound, alienate and wither the people we care about with our sharp edges?
Gentle treatment of people - especially when we're feeling tired, or tense, or frustrated - doesn't necessarily come naturally. God describes it as a "fruit of the Spirit" (Galatians 5:23). It's a characteristic Jesus has that He can produce in you through His Holy Spirit who lives in you. But you have to reach the point where, first of all, you're willing to see those sharp edges that you have and repent of them as part of the sinful old you that's all dark and ugly. And tell the Lord you're powerless to change your dark side by yourself.
Surrender that harsh side of you to God's Holy Spirit to replace it with the loving gentleness of your Lord, Jesus. Go back to those you've hurt and tell them you're sorry, and ask them to pray for you as you try to change. And when you're in one of those times when the sharp edges tend to show, stop for a moment and exchange your feelings and your instincts and your history for His empowering, overlooking love. There are too many wounds, too many tears from the damage our sharp edges have inflicted. Because of Jesus, you just don't have to be that way anymore!