Thursday, February 13, 2014

Away From the Crowd

By Melanie Rigney

(Ahijah tore his cloak into twelve pieces and said to Jeroboam:) “Take ten pieces for yourself; the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will tear away the kingdom from Solomon’s grasp and will give you ten of the tribes. One tribe shall remain to him for the sake of David my servant, and of Jerusalem, the city I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel.’” (1 Kings 11:31-32)
I am the Lord, your God; hear my voice. (Psalm 81:11)
And people brought to (Jesus) a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hands on him. He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his fingers into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”) And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly. (Mark 7:32-35)

Lord, open my ears, my heart, and my soul to Your private corrections and guidance.

It’s surely happened to you. You mispronounce or misuse a word while you’re with a group of people. Or maybe everyone knows you’re trying to lose weight, and you go ahead and order that mud pie for dessert. Then, someone feels the need to “helpfully” point out that one doesn’t pronounce the T in “often” or the calories in that dessert pretty much account for the total you’re supposed to eat for an entire day.

Yes, that’s sooo helpful, isn’t it, when people draw attention to our deficiencies in public? Think about how differently we feel when someone takes us aside later to discuss such situations.

 Everyone knew the man in today’s Gospel reading couldn’t hear and couldn’t speak. That’s why they brought him to Jesus. Yet Jesus didn’t dwell on the man’s disabilities in public, didn’t put him on display like a freak, didn’t treat him like an object to be used to show his own greatness. No, he had the kindness and decency to take the man aside to heal him.

God does that with each of us, every day. If we slow down enough to listen, we can hear His gentle corrections and feel His healing when it’s just the two of us. God doesn’t seek to embarrass us or make public examples of us, just to bring us ever closer to Him. May we strive to do the same when we have the opportunity to heal or instruct.

Just for today, make a note every time you feel the urge to publicly correct friends and acquaintances. Pray for the wisdom to overcome that temptation tomorrow.

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