DRAMA OF THE DELICATE

From one of my favorite bloggers JD Blom comes this reflection that the church and its leaders would do well to heed. – STEVE

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:12-13

“STOP!” The command still resonates through my ears even after thirty years. It was not a menacing or cruel command but it was all too common. It always was a command of necessity and a little frustration. It was a frustration that thankfully did not originate with me but from the task at hand.

I knew what I would see upon looking in the direction of my father. There he would be, seated at his workbench, both arms stretched out to his side with his hands in the universal sign of “don’t take another step”. His eyes were never on any person. They were already looking down, searching for what he had lost.

I would stop and give my dad the room he needed. The slow searching process had begun. He would start with himself. Slowly lifting each fold of his shirt to see if what was lost had landed in a crevasse. He would work his way down from his shirt to his lap and the ridges of his chair. All the while, the search would become a little more urgent through its descent.

If his prey was particularly elusive, my dad would take a small magnet and begin to sweep the surfaces of his workbench. He would keep his feet and chair rigidly fixed as the magnet moved through a search pattern designed not to leave a space unexamined.

If the search proved unsuccessful, my father would carefully step from his bench and take his frustration to the floor. He would run his magnet across the floor in an agonizingly slow hunt. It was a colossal waste of time. That is what frustrated my dad the most.
New old skeleton watchworks, seen through its …

New old skeleton watchworks, seen through its crystal back (Photo credit: readerwalker)

My dad was a watchmaker. Actually, he was a watch repairer. This was back when watches were not powered by batteries and governed by electronics. My dad made his living working on mechanical time-pieces that were masterpieces of tiny gears, screws, and springs. Stores shipped their customer’s functionless watches to our house and my dad transformed the broken into the useful. However, it was always difficult to make a living being a tradesman of the watchmaker art. The watchmaker was paid by piecemeal. He only earned his wage when what was shipped back worked as it was intended. Therefore, the provider of my family had the pressure of production that an adolescent will never understand. This was the frustration that my father felt as he searched surfaces of his shop.

Molnija 3601 watch movement macroMy father’s search was most often for the tiniest of screws. The slightest bit of excess pressure on their round surfaces could cause one to disappear as if by magic. Time slips away when having to deal with something that was not the original problem but has become one. Wages associated with the repair evaporate with every moment wasted in search of that which was not broken but yet essential.

A friend was recently telling me of an experience in his church that made me think of my dad’s frustration. He told me of how a person had been offended by something that he had done in which I struggled to see the offense. It seems to me that the particular person had to work at being offended by the actions of my friend. It was a tale that is neither unique nor uncommon.

I wonder at the amount of time spent by pastors smoothing over perceived or minor offenses within their congregations. I don’t think I want to know the level of consideration wasted to crafting communications so as to appease the delicate. It seems that just the slightest touch of inadvertent pressure can cause positive attitudes to disappear as if by magic. Trouble and hurt feelings can easily arise and become an issue that engulfs the original problem. The progress in helping the broken can be consumed in soothing the feelings of the delicate.

The drama swirling the delicate staggers me. It wears me out. I don’t know a church, family, group of friends, or workplace that does not contain some drama. The reality of the pervasiveness of drama probably comes from us all being more delicate than we may want to admit. Most of us don’t want to acknowledge that we are over-sensitive. We resist the idea that we may have a weakness toward searching out offenses. We may deny our skill in conjuring drama from innocent intentions.

The drama of the delicate is such a colossal waste of time and effort. We are all forced to spend the time searching for the solution to a specific bit of drama. The solution may appease the delicate for a time but it never usually addresses the heart issue. Therefore, we are all trapped in this dance of being so concerned with not offending that distracts us from our real purpose in serving the broken.

Drama consumes so much energy.

We were never intended to be delicate in Christ. We are supposed to be compassionate, kind, humble, meek, patient, forgiving, and loving. Drama does not come from those who are bearing with one another. Offense does not linger in those who have forgiven. Patience soothes the over-sensitive.

Jesus did not spend a lot of time with the drama of the disciples. He rebuked the drama when it arose. He addressed the sinful heart condition that was exposed when His disciples acted in a particularly delicate manner.

We are to be known for our love for one another. We should not be known for our drama.

The next time that you feel the pressure of offense, consider the colossal waste that will come from the drama building within you. Seek the Lord and let Him soothe the delicate nature of our soul. Let He be the comfort of your sensitive feelings. Allow the Spirit to strengthen you and empower you to look past the failings of others and to forgive. Let the fruit of patience and peace bless all those around you.

Allow yourself to be delicate before your Lord but be mature for the Body of Christ and strive for a drama-free life through the power of His Spirit.

PRAYER: Lord, forgive me for not leaving my delicate nature in your gentle hands. Forgive me for trying to correct the offenses that I have felt. Forgive me for my tendency to think of myself more than others. Lord, give me compassion and meekness. Help me to be kind and forgive. Grant me humility and enable me to bear with others. Father, I need you to fill me with the power of your Spirit so that I can walk in a drama-free life. I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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