I recently wrote a post which gained a response I did not expect.
In a way it was not exactly a negative response... more neutral than anything - but it broke my spirit for a few moments after reading it and then at random points when I would think on it too much.
The good thing was how the Lord cradled me in His arms and calmed me down. One of the biggest ways He did this was through Jon Acuff. Shortly after reading the comment to my blog I was doing some blog reading of my own. The second one in my list was a blog from Jon Acuff titled '1 Thing Writers Should Never Forget' where he says this, "You don't get to control what people read, you get to control what you write. And those things are very different."
He talks about the filter we all have when going into anything. A filter which can completely and totally change the meaning of the words in front of us. In a way, I would guess, is a very good point for how so many can get so many different views from one Bible, but such is not why I brought this up.
This 'filter' idea came to me after receiving the comment I did... I honestly thought to myself, 'They must have had an idea of what this post should have been before reading and when it was not such they just decided to comment on such a thing in a ambiguous way.' Reading the post by Jon Acuff solidified this for me, it was the confirmation I needed to be completely and totally fine with the issue. God was holding me in His arms and telling me it was ok... they just misunderstood.
You may think.. if you are 'over it' why are you writing about it now? and that is a good question.
It is because I have my own filters as well.
I also recently asked my wife to make sure my son, Elijah, could draw me a new picture to go on my cubicle wall at work. I really enjoy having their little gems of artistic talent on my walls. Every now and then I will slow down and look around at them and smile to myself just thinking of my wonderful family.
A few days went by and we were at the church and service was ending so my kids were meeting with my in what is known in our Children's church as 'The Green Room'. Elijah comes over to me and with a huge grin on his face he holds out this crinkled paper to me saying, 'Daddy this is for your work. It was in the trash but I got it out'.
I side looked to him and the paper as I was finishing up some video work for Children's church and I said to him, "Buddy I don't want to hang a paper you threw in the trash on my wall - I want your best to take with me to work, ok"
He just said, 'ok', and walked away.
I finished up what I was doing - packed up and we were all about to be able to leave when my wife, my wonderful - very observant awesome wife, came by with Elijah saying to him, "Eli, daddy did not understand what really happened".
I immediately knew I had made a mistake - and boy had I.
Melanie explained to me what really happened. Elijah worked hard to created the drawing he had for me and was eager and ready to give it to me, but someone in the room jumped the cleaning gun and had grabbed it with other papers they were balling up and throwing away. When Eli could not find it later - they went through the trash to find the wonder work of art MEANT for DADDY'S wall.
After I told Elijah what I had about not wanting that paper he apparently went right back to the trash can balled it back up again threw it in.
With just a few words I broke his spirit and every time I think of it I fall apart inside and just want to go to him and hold him close letting him know how much I messed up and didn't mean for him to feel that way, but I cannot take away those moments from him. Maybe they will make him stronger... maybe they will help him later, but I can only right now see how my preconceived filters broke my child's heart and I do not want it to happen again.
We all really do have these filters and really need to be careful of the words we may speak in carelessness. It just takes a few to breaks someone's spirit... in the right time... with the right words.
While the story honestly has a good ending - this part of it - which I really do wish I could take away will always be there.
I have this drawing he did... it is on my wall - actually it is the title photo for this blog. It is a picture of his daddy at work. You can tell this because of the stairs to the side. It is amazing what stands out in a child's mind... It may be hard for you to see the wrinkles made by the trauma this little paper went through, but an iron does good work even on paper if you are VERY CAREFUL.
We must be careful with all those around us, striving to be like Christ... being able to speak truth and see beauty in all places. To talk with each person the exact right way to point them to God... It can be done, but our filters need to thrown out and instead we need to let love guide our actions. We need to let God see them before we throw them out. He will guide us if we let Him.
I just pray I will let Him ... no matter what.
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