Why is it always the small things that throw us off?
I know it’s easy to brush it aside as just mere nit picking. I for one don’t like it much either. But come on; it’s just a poppy seed stuck in my teeth. It’s just stain on my white shirt. And excuse my crassness, but it’s just a zit in the middle of my forehead. So why should such a small ordeal cause you to call me out? When it’s just so minimal, after all. But as we understand, it is sometimes the minimal stuff that is most glaring.
Put it into physical terms, if there is a slightest strain in the body, if there is a tug of the muscles, or if it is just a mere fracture in the leg – we are completely unwound when it comes to doing the most simplistic of physical activity. It makes sense then that we would want to, and should, pay special attention to the details in, well…us. Think about Hebrews chapter 12. It follows one of the most popular chapters in the Bible, the heroes of faith found in chapter 11. We leave that chapter and automatically address the need to keep running the race (vs. 1-2). By 1; looking to Christ, and 2; knowing such members of faith are rooting us on. Quite encouraging, right? But we automatically leave this command and are informed that we need to take the discipline that comes from God to heart (vs. 3-11). We are told that discipline (a discipline that is not merely punishing, but rather instructing and forming us into Godly individuals) and endurance are necessary in our lives, because just as discipline from parents mold us into how we ought to be, so is it the same from our heavenly Father.
Then we get to vs. 12-13 which tells us, “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.” Here’s what I hope we understand; we have been called to run, we have been called to run by keeping those in mind who have already ran, and who are running beside us now, we have been called to appreciate discipline/instruction, and we have been called to continually fix the limbs/joints that cause us to struggle in this race. In short, I should be willing to accept criticism from my brother or sister in Christ. Not fun, is it?
Ultimately, I must confess, I hate confrontation of any kind. I don’t like hearing others disagree with me, nor that I may have messed up. But how am I supposed to grow if I am unable to listen? Paul likewise uses this body analogy in 1 Corinthians 12, by showing that some of us are ears, some are eyes, others noses, and yet all are members of Christ. If we are all members of this body, we should take it to heart that we want no limb to struggle in making our walk together successful. I should want to hear if I’m falling, I should want to hear if I’m hurting, I should want to hear where I can improve. And while we must have patience, and realize that we are all broken individuals continually seeking to better ourselves, I as the individual member must be willing to listen. What if what they say is only half true? What if what they say is difficult to accomplish? What if what they say can be said in a more practical or loving tone? Well, you can’t control them. And while it is easy to backlash and defend yourself, are you willing to hear where you can make better these specks? All you can control is you, so fix you. You have a ways to go…
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)