Pedestals. I love the look of them. They’re a great decorator piece, perfect for displaying works of art – until they get knocked over. Then it’s pieces everywhere and a busted statue to boot.
I remember the time I found a fetching pair of boy and girl porcelain-type busts at an antique shop, a birthday gift for my sister that I thought she would love. I carefully wrapped them up, tied them with a bow and toted them across the state to bestow upon her. She and her husband stood side by side as I handed the package to her. Unfortunately, in the passing of the baton, my hand let go before hers had a firm grip and the box hit the carpet. A relatively soft ‘something’ to land on, but it was a dark day for one of the busts.
We gave a collective gasp and groan, hoping against hope while she undid the wrapping and opened the lid. There in the tissue lay one unharmed bust while the other was a pile of ceramic tidbits. (We did not attempt to put it back together. It too much resembled Humpty Dumpty, and if all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put him back together, we weren’t about to embark on this 1,000 piece puzzle either!). Into the garbage it went, never to grace their master bedroom as the original matched pair the artist intended.
We humans have the tendency at times to do the very same thing with people. We place them on a pedestal if they have wowed us in some manner, further idealizing them and blinding ourselves to the truth of their humanity. Reality check. No one is that perfect and it’s a pretty sure thing they put their pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us.
Christians, particularly, do no good service to our fellow brethren when we engage in such elevation of others. For one thing, being perched on a pedestal leaves one in a precarious position. There’s only one way to go and that’s down. Even if they hit the carpet, there’s no guarantee they’ll land on their feet. Most of the time, a ‘great shattering’ takes place, and we wander off in search of the next promising looking replacement for our bare pedestal.
How often have we cared enough to painstakingly put the pieces back together again?
Unlike the shattered bust that was only empty pottery and glaze and hardly worth the effort, we are all The Master’s works of art. We live by the breath of the living God, far too valuable to be placed on a pedestal only to eventually have to come down off of it one way or another. Like high horses, what goes up must come down. When the landing isn’t pretty, our heavenly Father’s heart cares so much that He asks us to participate with Him in each other’s process of being put back together again.
We are wounded in relationship and we are healed in relationship. I pray we learn more and more to receive and release each other in a healthy, life-giving manner. Not relegated to a pedestal draped in a swag, nor walked away from when brokenness occurs; but rather, living the command of Jesus to the people standing there when He called forth Lazarus from the tomb…
“Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” John 11:43b
Whether it’s time in your life to lift someone down off a pedestal, catch them as they topple, or resist the urge to place someone up there in the first place, may you do so with grace and wisdom…and some super glue on hand.