Twelve years ago my husband was serving the military in Iraq. With stateside training and boots on the ground he was gone 14 long months. During that time our daughters and I tried a number of distractions; ice cream, movies, park visits, to name a few things to pass the time. I on the other hand would spend the wee hours of the morning painting walls, refinishing floors and rearranging things to pass the time. Our basement (my husband’s man cave) became a catch all for paint cans, old rags, wood scraps and more. I never really went ‘down’ there as it made me miss him all the more so I would just ‘toss’ the left over materials down the stairwell or heap stacks on the steps.
My mother came for a visit during his tour of duty and she graciously adopted two cats for our girls to enjoy . I was okay with the gesture and agreed the cats would offer great company. Well, the cats were lively to say the least. Bonding wasn’t happening as well as I had anticipated. Sometimes the fact that they were out of sight, out of mind, was a blessing to my stress level. Perhaps I should have questioned their whereabouts more. This is where the repair man comes in to play.
A pretty big job needed to be accomplished in our home and I cleared my blocked basement steps so that he could go down there and do his work. I didn’t venture ‘all the way down’ since I figured my husband left it in an acceptable manner.
After the work was completed the repair man/friend of the family made a point to speak directly to me and basically asked if I was aware of what our cats were doing in the basement. I said, “What did you see?” He replied that is wasn’t what he could see but what he could smell. He said it was quite obvious that the cats were marking in a certain location and that it seemed to be an ongoing problem. I could tell that he didn’t enjoy being the messenger, but he also cared enough for our family and knew that a problem like this left unaddressed would become a more serious issue that could overtake our lives with multiple consequences and costly damage. Without delay or argument (since I still could not smell the evidence) I went right to work dealing with the issue.
“Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.” Proverbs 19:20
What I value in all of this is that he didn’t have to get involved, but he took a risk as a business person and family friend. He spoke it factually and without drama and he even helped some with the solution. Pardon the pun, but I thank God this repair man stuck his nose in our business.
“And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” 1 Thessalonians 5:14
Our first response should not be to bristle when we are given honest and constructive feedback in our spiritual lives. I agree, it is not pleasant and is extremely humbling to have someone point out a blind spot in our life. When brothers and sisters in Christ who genuinely care, come alongside and speak truth in love, it is iron sharpening iron and an opportunity for us to grow more like Christ.
Let’s pray together: Oh Father, help me to turn away from arrogance and grant me humility to receive a good word spoken in due season for Your glory and my sanctification. Create in me a heart that is free of pride and that desires to grow in areas that are weak. It is humbling to admit blind spots exist but foolish to deny it. May the words of scripture that I read or that are brought to me through the body of Christ be a welcomed sight and received with joy. I am your workmanship. Mold me and transform the dark, foul areas of my heart. Everything comes to light eventually so let me respond by saying, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24) ~ Amen