Sometimes, “speechless” is the only word in my vocabulary.
Recently my husband and I had occasion to be in public settings where what was displayed grieved the Spirit of Christ within us.
While in for a car repair one Friday afternoon we were exposed to something on cable TV in the dealer’s waiting room we have never watched before. We caught part of an accurately labeled “trash TV” episode. Unbelievable. It was all the confirmation we needed to be glad we don’t have cable.
My husband got up and walked out to the dealer’s showroom floor to check out other headlights. I stayed seated but felt such a sense of defilement that it bothered my stomach and caught my soul’s attention. Immediately a scripture came to mind and I thought to myself, “No wonder Paul admonished believers to think on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable…” (Philippians 4:8) The reality TV portrayals in that episode were polluting. Why it was even being aired in a public waiting area was beyond me.
The second occasion played out two days later while waiting for a table at a local restaurant after Sunday morning church service. It was a bit of a wait so we stepped outside to enjoy the summer sun and mild temperature. With one of the local universities resuming this end of summer, the restaurant and lobby was packed with young adults and breakfast regulars. The spill-over lounged in the sunshine.
It wasn’t long before a drama began to unfold in the parking lot between a high maintenance mom, dad, and college-age son, also waiting for a table. Having dropped off our three children at various universities in the past, we recognized the giveaway “parents and college offspring” trio.
We didn’t need to eavesdrop to overhear part of the verbal exchanges being lobbied back and forth. Then the sound was turned off and we watched the non-verbal messages, which ended when the three retreated to various areas of the parking lot. Then, it got better – or worse…
They finally drifted together to wait it out when what to our wondering eyes should appear but high maintenance mom striking pose after pose of yoga stretches in front of a large glass mirror, uh, reflective window of a business that shared the parking lot. This went on for a full ten minutes.
Ok, so she chose to efficiently use her waiting time to get in some good stretching…but with various body parts aimed squarely at the males in the parking lot, including my husband, like a neon sign screaming, “Look at me!”?
Clearly, I have a problem. Once having worn my own version of a neon sign, now I have been ruined by grace.
Paul’s epistle to the Romans is full of the message of grace. At the end of Chapter five, he says, “…so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness…”
Two episodes in two days. Two opportunities to witness sin reigning while being overcome with the remembrance of God’s grace to me. Turned from sin and death to life and righteousness, by grace.
Abiding in the royalty realm does not mean we believers will be miraculously blindfolded from the ungodly displays of those held captive by sin. I am not talking about what we choose or don’t choose to set before our eyes; rather, this is part of the territory that comes with living life in a fallen world. It can be in your face while getting your car repaired or waiting to eat breakfast after worship and the Word.
Suffice it to say that having your heart hurt with the things that hurt God’s, hurts.
What was I to do with these waves of emotion? It called for some response, but what?
We went for huckleberry ice cream cones.
You may be wondering what the point is of this post. If you get nothing else, get this:
There is nothing into which any of us, given the “perfect storm” of circumstances, could not fall.
And without Divine influence of grace upon our heart, the object lessons my husband and I were exposed to this past weekend harshly and easily become life stories read and known by others.
Here at Shammahs Field we sometimes step into the middle of such object lessons in clients’ lives. At other times, we’re just minding our own business and oh, boy! Free tickets to someone’s premier showing of “Life Is All About ME.”
If, like us, you sometimes find yourself the unwitting purveyor of “sin reigning,” ask the Lord why He’s allowing you to see it and what He wants you to know or learn. The Teacher is always teaching.
In the meantime, keep some ice cream handy.
Forever ruined by His grace,