Friday flashback – Home Sweet Home

My friend Kat posts a “Friday Five” on the message board I’ve been a member of since our youngest was born.  I loved today’s question, and got so homesick after answering it, that I thought I’d blog about it and reminisce some more.

The question was “Share a memory about the house in which you grew up.”  There are so many memories of that little house on 16th Street, but the one I shared was actually a combination of many happy memories.  Though I have a few memories of family gatherings at homes of other aunts and uncles, I remember our little bungalow on 16th Street as the hub of family gatherings.   Mom and Dad raised six kids in that house, bunk beds in the bedroom for the boys, and a hide-away bed in the living room for the girls.  We didn’t have a lot, but we had a warm house, filled with laughter and love. I shared about a rousing game of PIT, where the police came to check to make sure noone was being murdered.  In retrospect, I bet we raised the roof an inch or two.

I have many memories of our family gathered ’round that vintage chrome and sunshine yellow formica-topped table.   Family prayers, satisfying dinners, passionate political debates, and a whole lot of laughter.  I like to think we’ve carried on some of those traditions, and made similar memories for our own children to carry on in their homes.

Bitterness

from Inspiredinsanity.com

I looked in the mirror, and found myself to be bitter, angry and festering over circumstances beyond my control; disappointments, injustices, unemployment, hurtful words and insinuations from unexpected persons, homesickness, and isolation, to name a few.

It’s easy for me to point the finger when I recognize bitterness in someone else.  Verses like Proverbs 14:10 (Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.), and Amos 5:7 (There are those who turn justice into bitterness and cast righteousness to the ground.) are easy to spot and condemn when fault lies with “them”.  But what about me?  Now that I look in the mirror, I notice a beam protruding from my own eye, and four fingers pointing back.

I had forgotten that Ephesians 4:30-32  (And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of maliceBe kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.) doesn’t just apply to that ugly person that hurt me, but illuminates my very own darkened heart.  I see my own anger and bitterness, and the effect it has not only on me and those around me, but on the heart of God himself, the One who loved me, and bought me, and made me new.  How His Spirit must grieve for the new stains of sin on His workmanship.

I love that when we are instructed to rid ourselves of something, we are not left empty.  There is further instruction on replacing that which had defiled with something that heals.  We’ve gotten rid of bitterness, rage, anger, etc., and in its place, we fill it with kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.  Reminds me of the “put off, put on” dynamic. Putting off the the works of the flesh and replacing them with the works and fruits of the Spirit.  I believe this is the first step in following the command of  Hebrews 12:14-15 (Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.)

If we are constantly pulling those bitter weeds that try to take root in our heart, and planting seeds of compassion, kindness and forgiveness, we will be producing fruits of the Spirit instead of the bitter fruit of the flesh, we will be in a habit of becoming holy, and we will see the Lord in our daily lives, in the lives of others, and ultimately in eternity.