Monday, May 27, 2013

Shattered Glass - Shattered Lives

Mourning doves around our bird feeder
     Sitting quietly this morning on my love seat near the window, I was enjoying a cup of coffee along with a good book.  Our old dog Roscoe lay comfortably at my feet.  Suddenly, there came an enormous explosion with glass flying everywhere.  At first I thought someone had thrown a rock through our front window.  My husband came running out to the living room to see what had happened.  Then, I spied the culprit who had done the damage.  A frightened young mourning dove sat on our window sill trapped by my venetian blinds. He did not appear hurt but merely startled.  Obviously this young bird was not a frequent flyer or even a good one for that matter.
     My husband donned gloves with which to pick up this young creature as I gently raised the blinds so he could get a careful grasp of him.  We were uncertain whether he was cut, but when my husband lifted him up, there was no blood.  This was further confirmed when this young bird was gently put down near the trees in our yard.  He immediately flew off most likely to share his story with other feathered friends.
     In the meantime, I began my now half a day of moving furniture, vacuuming the house and picking up both glass and feathers.  I have been amazed to find glass slivers reaching in our study some 20 feet away and also across our long living room.  I swept several times because we now entertain toddler grandchildren in our home and I would never want them to step on a piece of glass.  Naturally our window could not be fixed on a holiday so we managed to put a piece of cardboard with duct tape over the gaping hole.  It is amazing what one little off course bird did that changed our plans for the morning.
     As I reflected on this unplanned chain of events, I couldn't help but draw a parallel to what happens when we commit  a sin.  While we tell ourselves that our actions really do not have any impact on others, we find out that the opposite is true.  Consider just a few examples from the Bible.  David never thought that his adulterous affair with Bathsheba would be found out once he had Uriah the Hittite put to death in battle (2 Samuel 11-12).  Who would know except for his general?  However, God knew and made it clear through the Prophet Nathan that what David had done would bring grievous consequences.  Even though David repented before the Lord, the baby that he and Bathsheba had conceived died.  Likewise, the sword never departed from his own household.  Absalom rose to oppose his own father for the throne.  These were the out workings of his own sin.  God forgave David, but the consequences of sin remained.
     Next we need to consider Samson.  Here was a man born to serve the Lord as a Nazarite (Judges 16).  This meant he was to abstain from unholy conduct, wine or other sins against the Lord.  God gave him great strength to defeat the enemies of Israel but Samson was instructed not to give away the secret of his power (his long hair).  Unfortunately, like many of us, Samson thought he could handle his life without God's help and fell into a relationship with a harlot.  Later he met another woman who was a Philistine (one of Israel's enemies).  Again, he had a wrong relationship with her, and she ultimately betrayed Samson to the Philistines by convincing Samson to tell her the source of his strength.  As a result of his foolish sin, he suffered defeat when his hair was cut.  He was blinded by the hands of the enemy and only as a last act was he able to cause a great temple to fall upon the Philistines killing a large number of them.  How different could his life have been had he not only observed the Nazarite vow and lived according to the Word of the Lord?
 How our hearts deceive us!
     In both biblical examples, lives were shattered by sin.  Like the glass that flew far and wide across our living room and study, sin touches many in its wake.  All we have to do is pick up a newspaper in order to see the pain brought by sin.  Similarly, when spiritual leaders fall into sin, it devastates not only the person's family but the entire congregation.  The Apostle Paul wrote these words of admonition to the church at Galatia:  "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.  For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life" (Gals. 6:7-8).
     Picking up all the pieces of glass this morning is nothing compared to trying to pick up the pieces of a broken life damaged by sin.  God's Word is a sword that cuts through false beliefs, so before we step out to do something, let us make certain that  we are living according to the foundation laid for us by the Lord.  Our little bird friend was lucky he wasn't killed by flying through the glass.  Sin is every bit as dangerous.  Therefore, let us be certain to walk by the spirit and not in the flesh.  There are no consequences to fear when we walk in obedience to the Lord.  Selah!

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