Sunday, August 15, 2010

Reflections on Damaged Goods (Inspired by Proverbs 31 Ministries)

Have I mentioned before that I like Proverbs 31 Ministries? Oh, yes, I think I wrote another blog post based on devotion of theirs. This is another one based on a devotional posted by Carol Davis of Proverbs 31 ministries.

She wrote in the devotional about picking up a dented can with no label at the grocery store. When she opened it, it was peaches, and she loves peaches! The outside may have been damaged, but the inside was good and sweet.

Oh, goodness, isn't it true for so many of us? We have been through such difficult things. We go to church, and people look at us on the outside. We try to clean ourselves up, but our dents show through. People say, "Oh, we don't want to associate with her. She went through a divorce. She was abused. There must be something wrong with her." Others look at us, and they say, "Oh, you live with your parents? What's wrong with you? You're 36 years old!" (Okay, no one said it just that way, but it was implied.) They look at members of my family and say, "Why doesn't your mom go to church regularly? Why does she stay home and work? Is she really a Christian?"

Okay, so I'm sharing a few real experiences. And I know I have been guilty of judging others. I used to think that if someone was divorced and it was not because of marital infidelity on their partner's part, they were living in sin. God no longer could use them. And God forbid they should ever get married again! That's the last thing you would want for them!!

What a shock when my then-husband physically restrained me from waking up my daughter from a late night nap. He went in the room and locked me out. I knew in that instant that I had no choice but to divorce my husband. I was now the loose woman!

Damaged goods. All right, it's true. We may not be as fortunate as the woman in the devotional was when we open the cans. Maybe when we open it, there will be some nasty food inside it that we never dreamed of eating!

But aren't we all damaged in some way? None of us are perfect--none of us! If we focus on the faults of others, we can't even deal with our own faults effectively, can we?

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that we will be tolerant of others in the church. May we look past the damaged outsides and peer inside. After all, God, our lives haven't turned out the way we planned it. I doubt that those in our circle of influence have had fairytale lives either. May we not overlook sin, but show us that person this week to whom we can reach out and love no matter how unlovely they are! Amen.


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