THIS WEEK’S FOCUSED SCRIPTURE
1 Corinthians 12:21-26, 13:1-13 (NIV)
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it,25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 13:13- And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
THOUGHTS FROM OSCAR
My daughter is six years old and already displays a grandiose personality. She is the youngest of three, and the only girl. This family dynamic typically comes with many passionate and expressive forms of emotions. Her two older brothers are ten and twelve and, understandably, often have a hard time responding appropriately to the conundrums presented by their youngest sibling.
Sometimes the common attitude among children in their desire to show independence, shows up when they try to act like they don’t need each other, and that they don’t need our parenting. Children are quick to highlight each other’s shortcomings, mistakes, and discouraging words. It is not rare to see them promptly disqualify each other because of their behavior, and oftentimes disqualify themselves because of what another sibling has said or done to them. I know that this is probably common in every household. Not only is it a part of parenting and a part of family life to deal with these teachable moments in our families, but this sibling dynamic is one that I often see in the spiritual family we call “Church.”
Many “mature Christians” have made the dreaded mistake of unqualifying someone’s potential based on their past, their brokenness, their differences, or their maturity. We miss so much of God’s Kingdom when we fail to have “equal concern for each other.” The Church suffers greatly when we aren’t able to see beyond someone’s scars and broken pieces. We have different stories, different gifts and talents, different scars… all of us were once broken and have been put back together by God’s unconditional love. I don’t mean we take the consequences away from sin; those will always come because “God disciplines those He loves,” but it’s our duty as the body of Christ to help people become restored, delivered, and equipped. This is not just the pastor’s sole responsibility. We all lovingly help people be put back together. Our broken pieces create a space where God can display His goodness and kindness. God shows up in our weakness more than in our strengths because “His grace is made perfect in our weaknesses.”
I saw this post on Instagram just recently: “In Japan, they have made an art out of restoring broken things. It’s an ancient practice they’ve called ‘Kintsugi,’ meaning ‘to patch with gold.’ It’s an age-old custom of repairing cracked pottery with real gold, not just fixing the vase but somehow making it better than new by greatly increasing the value of the piece. It involves turning what is broken and lost and what many would think is so beyond repair, into beautiful, cherished pieces. So many of us want to hide our flaws, scars, or things we have endured or walked through. Kintsugi artists highlight them, creating a whole new design and bringing unique beauty to the original piece. Because of the way each piece is broken and put back together, no two pieces are the same, but they’re wonderfully restored and made into something better than new. They’re not put back together by any old thing, but delicately put back together with gold.”
Isn’t this what God has done with us? Isn’t this what we ought to do with one another? To put the gold, to put God’s love, put God’s grace into people’s broken lives, into our spouse’s broken story, into our children’s brokenness, and show them how beautiful they still are and how powerfully God can use their story when they allow Him to heal their scars? We can do this because of God’s love in us. Therefore, we can practice “the greatest of these… Love.”