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By Rev. Skip Myers
web posted February 12, 2007
COLUMN – It drew me like a magnet. Its force was beyond anything I could ever imagine resisting. I had been warned against it and threatened that if I got too close there would be a high price to pay. But its beauty and perfection was just too much for me. I had to give in to its power and allow myself to experience the pure joy it had to offer. It didn’t matter what my new Easter suit cost my parents that mud puddle had to be mine. So without regard to life or limb, I jumped right in the middle of it. The mud went everywhere—on me and everyone around me. At that moment this little boy was in heaven.
What is it about mud puddles and little boys? We can be warned and threatened but the minute we see one all bets are off. It suddenly becomes worth everything we will suffer to jump right in the middle of all that glorious mud and watch it make as big of a mess as it can. I have never seen a little boy walk cautiously into a puddle. We always have to jump and just as our feet are about to touch mud, we pound them into the ground trying to make the splash even bigger.
I really don’t think most of us ever get over splashing in the mud. Watch someone the next time a conflict erupts. The smart thing to do would be to cautiously wade in, gathering as much information as possible, and then make a wise decision to speak with calm authority. But oh no!!! We rush in against all warnings and jump in with both feet as hard as we can and with as much defensive emotion as we muster. When everything settles down there we are covered in mud from head to toe having made mess of ourselves and those around us.
Let someone say something about us or fail to meet our expectations. Instead of sharing our hurt or lack of understanding with them in a loving manner, we jump and pound until the mud is caked on us and we are just as dirty as the ones doing the talking. Remember that our responsibility is to represent the Lord and not merely our own interests. Most defensive behavior comes back to haunt us. Never step into a puddle too quickly. You never know how deep it is.
Someone recently shared with me a situation they were involved in where they really wanted to jump in the mud. But after calm consideration, they decided to simply watch the puddle and see what would happen. What happened was that everyone around the puddle noticed it and began to avoid it. Jumping in with both feet would have served only to put all the attention on the jumper instead of the puddle. And remember, shine enough sunlight on a puddle and it will dry up.
I hope you have followed all of this. Let me summarize by giving you two scriptures that this person’s situation brought to mind. I would like to share these with you and with them.
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
But sanctify Christ as Lord in your heart, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.
1 Peter 3:15-16
One of the best sayings I have heard about mud puddles and how we as believers are supposed to react is by Johnny Hunt. He simply tells everyone to stay “close and clean.” It’s hard to stay clean if we get angry and jump in every puddle we see. Let the sunshine dry up the puddles—you enjoy living in the Lord.
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