I didn’t mean for it to happen.
How many times in life have I said that?
We had family over for a celebration. The kids determined they would cook dinner. A sweet gift to me. I’d rather play.
The grands all wanted to go outside, so we trooped out back to see what trouble we could get into.
Our neighbor on one side has river rock along their walkway. The littles thought throwing rocks would be a wonderful activity because watching them plop and ripple is fun. I calmly explained that would require us throwing our neighbors’ rocks that they’d paid for into the water. Not a good idea.
We found dead branches near the pond, and it was quickly obvious that pitching little dead pieces of wood was even better than throwing rocks. And it didn’t cost anyone anything.
Well, that’s not totally true.
We pitched small twigs as long as we could find them by the dead bushes. They were the perfect size for small hands. There were bigger branches scattered around as well, and once the tiny twigs were gone, the boys began hurling the big ones into the pond like spears.
Before I knew it, the water was littered with twigs and branches. I knew it wasn’t good, but we all got called into dinner at that point.
And I forgot.
It’s funny how things I’m not comfortable with can be denied or forgotten so easily.
I was graciously reminded the next day that our pond is indeed real–a true spring-fed pond. Not a retention pond, like the majority of water bodies around us. And the mass of branches I inadvertently allowed the kids to throw into the water wasn’t good for the ecosystem.
It was the same feeling as a child getting caught with my hand in the cookie jar and trying to come up with an explanation of how it got there. I didn’t intend the mess to happen. But it did.
So much of what happens in life is the unintentional hurt of others. I’ve said things without thinking (I’m a verbal processor), acted on things I believed to be true, disrespected someone because I responded without knowing the context of a situation.
That doesn’t make me a bad person. Sometimes insensitive, occasionally thoughtless, often unobservant. But when someone offers feedback that is helpful in making me a better person, I need to receive it in the manner with which it was given–graciously.
Moses is one of my favorite characters in the Bible. He was genuine and had no problem telling God he didn’t think he could do what God was asking him to do. He didn’t want divine feedback. When God painted a bigger picture of who He was, Moses realized the value and truth of what God had been saying to him.
God is patient with us. He will bring us to conviction when we choose something wrong–shame and blame aren’t from Him but from the enemy of our souls. His feedback is always true. Always helpful in our growth.
Kind of like a spring-fed pond freed of debris so it could flow as it was intended to do.
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