Rhythm of Life
Rhythm of Life
Stuck in the Mud
“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” Psalm 40:2
The Christian grade school I attended as a child was in the city of Hamilton, but the area had not yet been developed at that time, so there was still a lot of open space around it. At lunch time, the students would often go out into the nearby field to play and build forts of sticks or goldenrod. If it had rained, there were spots in the field that could get quite muddy.
One day, when the school bell rang, all the other children ran for the building. But the mud had slurped up all around my boots and I was stuck. Eventually, in desperation, I stepped out of them, tugged once more to get them loose and ran in stocking feet, my boots in hand.
Everyone was already in class by the time I got there, so I tiptoed down the hall to the washroom, hoping I would avoid detection and to get my boots clean there. Unfortunately, the Grade 8 monitor was on patrol, and her reaction was: “Look how dirty your boots are! Look what a mess you’ve made! I’m telling!” And I got in more trouble.
Sometimes I think that, even now, it’s easy to be like that monitor. It’s easy to say to people, “What a mess you are!” We stigmatize them so that they find it difficult to clean up their lives. In anger and judgment, we tell them they deserve more condemnation, firmly adjusting our own halo of law-abiding self-righteousness in the process.
Is there another way we as a Christian community could be more loving? What if the response had been something like “Wow, those boots are pretty dirty! I’ll help you clean up so you can get to class.” I would have been so grateful for some kindness when I already knew I had messed up.
When we’ve left muddy footprints of sin all over our own and others’ lives, we feel badly and wish we hadn’t been so foolish. But God doesn’t just look at us and say, “You got yourself into this, and now it’s your problem!” God rescues our feet from the miry clay and gives us a firm place to stand. He sent Jesus to earth because He knew we couldn’t clean up our sin by ourselves. And we as a community of Christ in St. Thomas have been sent to live out that kindness, forgiveness and restoration within our small group, and in the community around us.