Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Ripple Maker

I recently spent some time in the same room as a person who has, by his actions and lifestyle, sent ripples of pain and waves of defeat into the lives of those closest to him. Those ripples didn't stop with the close folks though, they travel on affecting those pretty far off from the situation. This person would be shocked, I think, if he ever realized how potent his life has become.

I only stared at him from across a room. His reputation had proceeded him and I was shocked that he didn't look at all like the monster I'd imagined him to be and yet the damage he'd caused by a lifetime of struggling with self control was as real a presence in the room as was this man's.

I stayed away from him because of my own shortcomings, my own struggle with self control. I wanted to treat this individual with the same venom he'd used on others, I wanted him to look closely at the lives he's ruined, I wanted to … so I stayed away.

I've spent a great deal of time pondering this man's sin--its ripples in the lives of those around him-- and suddenly it became uncomfortably clear to me that not one of us lives a ripple-less existence. His ripples may be more recognizable than my own, more public perhaps, but they are not one bit uglier to the One who created both of us, the One who loves us most, the One who, if we'll only let Him will deal with the ripples caused by my very own lack of self control and my very own selfishness and my very own judging nature, my very own high regard of me.

I am an accomplished ripple maker and I, every bit as much as the man I seek to shame, need the presence of the One who calmed the waters and made smooth the ripples and continues to pour living water for those who would realize their thirst.

Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!" Jesus responded, "Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!" Then he got up and rebuked the wind and the waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. ~Matthew 8:23-26 

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