October 5, 2011
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." Psalm 51:17 (NIV, 1984)
I walked down the aisle of the discount grocery looking for a bargain that I couldn't live without. It's always hit and miss in this store...and I had missed...again.
But, I passed by a bin that caught my eye. "Damaged Goods." It was filled with dented cans and missing labels...no real rhyme or reason, just random items that were not shelf worthy. And suddenly, I knew just how they felt.
Life sometimes delivers the unexpected. Lessons learned in the school of hard knocks bruise us, dent us and remove the label that defines who we are. We feel as if we have been tossed into a bin, no longer worthy of a place on the shelf. Some people substantiate the lie that we are second class failures and all hope is gone.
So, I leaned over and intentionally chose a dented can with no label from the bin. I got it home and placed it on the can opener with anxious anticipation. The whirr of the can opener finally penetrated the metal lid to reveal....peaches!!! I let out a school girl squeal! I love peaches!! What a treat to open this can and be greeted by one of my favorite fruits. The can was damaged but the contents were still good...and sweet.
God must have smiled...because at that moment the sunshine beamed in my kitchen window. I knew in my heart there was a lesson.
I have been damaged. We all have to some degree. I am not living the life that I dreamed about when I was a kid. However, the damage that I have suffered has made the contents of my heart so much sweeter, so much more compassionate, so much more in pursuit of Jesus. I have been looked down upon and judged by many who have seen my label missing and slapped on their own.
I've wanted to say, "Don't judge too quickly. My damage has not defined me...but, it is refining me." I may sometimes be at the bottom of the life's bin, but Jesus paid as high a price for those of us at the bottom as He did for those that are proudly displayed on the top shelf.
Look around. Is there someone in your life, your family or your church that you consider "damaged goods"? Don't miss an opportunity to reach out to them, to love them. You just might find a friendship that is good...and sweet.
Dear Lord, my life hasn't turned out exactly turned out like I thought it would. But, I know that You can still use me. Please forgive me for labeling others and judging them by their outside circumstances instead of the work that You are doing in their heart. Help me realize that we all have dents but that's what keeps us desperate for a Savior. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Do You Know Him?
Connect with Carol on her blog where she's sharing more encouragement and giving away a copy of Renee Swope's new book, A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises.
Write down all the life circumstances that have 'dented' your heart. Ask God to use your dents and scratches for your good and His glory.
Have you been judged unfairly? How did that make you feel?
Is there someone I am judging unfairly? By their circumstance? Or life situation?
What can I do to reach out to that person today?
Psalm 34:18, "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (NIV)
Isaiah 61:1, "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners..." (NIV, 1984)
© 2011 by Carol Davis. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105