I often watch home renovation shows. They always find houses that are filthy and unkempt with rooms that are too small or not properly inspected or licensed for an addition. They recognize walls that can be torn down to open up the space and bring in more light. By the end of the show, the professional room staging team embarks on the space and the houses look inviting and livable once again.
As a child, my heart began as one big open room, but as I grew, I began to build walls based on what the world was teaching me and how I reacted to people and situations in my life. I was busy building room after room and I became a pro at compartmentalizing my space. At the base of my heart I tossed in filth and it spread all over. The times when my heart would break, I tried patching it with false promises but the cracks would never seal. My heart was so filthy and the rooms were unkempt and too small, it became a place in which I could never invite anyone in to be with me.
I remember the day I said to myself with tears cascading down my face, “I cannot fix my heart alone. I need help”. The moment I uttered those words, I had a knock on my heart. I could only open the door enough to have my tear-filled left eye peer out to see who was there. It was Jesus. I let him in and watched as He squeezed effortlessly through the tiny space the open door would allow. I let him look around and he took his time surveying the space. He ran his clean hand along the ridges of my filth. He did not rush, he did not even blush. It was as if he expected to see such a terrible layout and that He knew exactly how to fix my mess. He cleared a space at my table and wrote out his quote and handed it to me before he squeezed out effortlessly through the door.
The details of my renovation were as follows:
First Observation: Your heart is in dire need of repair and rebuild due to the amount of sin it has incurred. There are too many tiny rooms and compartments contained within and I can knock down walls to let the light in. The cracks along the outer rim can be sealed by my love. Your heart will not last much longer in the condition it is in. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13) Therefore, I propose to get started as soon as possible.
Tools needed: Have faith in God. (Mark 11:22) By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days. (Hebrews 11:30) I am the way and the truth and the life. (John:6a) You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand. (John 13:7) Unless I wash you, you have not part with me. (John 13:8b)
Total Cost: “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46-47) I did this for you and your bill is paid in full.
My heart has since been renovated. Walls have been knocked down, light shines everywhere and the Holy Spirit came in and professionally staged the space. All cracks have disappeared and invitations have gone out. I have room for you in my heart. Will you join me?
I had an uneventful drive to work yesterday morning. That is, until I sat at a stop light. I noticed the people behind me as I checked my rear-view mirror. I noticed them for three reasons.
Reason 1: Skin color, hair color, and facial features made it obvious they were family. Mother at the wheel, teen-age son riding shotgun.
Reason 2: They were not smiling. I could not read their lips, but their non-verbals were deafening. The pursed lips on the mom and the squint to her eyes told me she was angry. The boy looked down and when he looked back up, he just stared forward. The boy’s lips moved, they both stared forward. It almost looked like they were both taking in the moment, both longing to be elsewhere.
Reason 3: The short-lived silent moment ended when the mom sucker-punched her son in the left temple. Her lips moved and she gave him some more words. He didn’t flinch, he didn’t guard himself. Was he used to this behavior from his mom, or did he not expect it? His sad eyes shifted to stare out the passenger side window. I know that stare out the window; I have looked there myself during unpleasant car rides.
My jaw hit the floorboard. I tried to make it obvious I saw what she did as I physically turned around to look at them, but neither noticed me. My heart broke for the son. I have no idea what aggravated this assault, but it sure had me full of emotion.
My heart felt sucker-punched. I wanted to let this car pass me so I could follow them and find the place where the mom gets out of her car. I wanted to give her a piece of my mind. I even thought of more violent things I could do to her. Lucky for that mom, we were on a two-lane road with construction and I could not let them pass and I could not follow them.
I could not physically help that boy, but I was able to bring in the big guns and help him Spiritually. I prayed for him. That was all I could do, but it was more than anyone could do at that moment.
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
It was neighborly of me to smile and wave as I drove by, and in a neighborly way he always smiled and waved back. I moved on with my life as I turned into my driveway while my neighbor continued to sit on his walker, breathing in fresh air and enjoying the evening sun on his face.
My feet could not convince my heart to walk over and introduce ourselves to this neighbor. Even when his dog joined him outside, I could not be lured by its cuteness. This gentle-looking man reminded me too much of my dad. When my dad was able to move about with the help of a cane, he used to sit in the driveway, listening to Polkas or a Detroit Tiger game, absorbing the bone-strengthening sun of the day. I miss my dad; he has been gently guided into Heaven in 2009.
Early morning July 4, 2012, I was closing down my house to go to bed when I noticed a red strobe light panning my window alerting me to the emergency down the street. As I peered out the window I saw my unknown neighbor, sitting up but strapped down on a stretcher, being guided gently into the back of an ambulance.
This is my personal example of a sin of omission. As James 4:17 states:
If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
If I see my neighbor back in his front yard, I am going to make this situation right between my head, feet and heart.
What is your sin of omission? Do you still have an opportunity to make it right?