The window in our kitchen at work is cracked. The crack was never fixed properly or the broken pane replaced. Instead, they chose to band-aid repair the crack and cover it with tape. Is it attractive? No. Is it an eyesore? Yes. But is it unbearable? No.
At least I don’t think so. My co-worker does. She thinks it is an atrocity and always closes the blinds when we leave them open. I personally think the value of the natural sunlight coming through more than makes up for the tape, but she only sees the brokenness.
It almost makes me sad that she chooses to focus on the crack instead of the sunlight. But isn’t this the way of the world? Don’t we look at people – and judge them – based on what we see (or what we think we see) on the outside? Don’t we look at someone’s clothes or weight or hair and decide instantly if they are worthy of our friendship? How often do we take the time to look beneath the surface – behind the outward appearance – to get to know the person? How important is it to us to invest in people and relationships?
As I sit at work each day and think about the war of the blinds – I open them, she closes them – I begin to see a spiritual lesson in them. I choose to look beyond the brokenness to get the light shining through. Natural sunlight is cheery and brightens our kitchen; an added bonus is it also brightens my day to see the sunbeams glistening off the kitchen walls.
And just as I enjoy letting the sunlight in, I realize that we need to let the Light in. Jesus didn’t see people as an interruption to His day or His purpose – people were His purpose. He talked to, ate with, and touched all types of people. He loved to love society’s unlovable and unworthy – because He knows people are not what society, money, and politics defines (limits) them to be. So if we are His hands and feet on earth, then we need to be more like Him. We need to be more gracious with and forgiving of people. We need to accept anyone He sends into our life for who they are and where they are. We need to see beyond people’s mistakes and problems and brokenness to love them into healing, health, and wholeness.
What are you focusing on with people? Are you looking at what’s wrong with them and deciding how they need to be fixed? Are you looking at the clothes they wear and determining you can’t be around someone with limited fashion sense? Are you looking at people’s weight and deciding people are either too lazy or too addicted to deserve your affection?
So as I sit at work I wonder – if my co-worker can’t look beyond the broken window to the beauty it provides, can she look beyond people’s mistakes to see the potential within?
In thinking about the broken window, God reminded me that He says in Scripture that He is the potter of our lives:
Isaiah 64:6-8 – 6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away. 7 And there is no one who calls on Your name, Who stirs himself up to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us, And have consumed us because of our iniquities. 8 But now, O Lord,You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.
Jeremiah 18:1-6 – 1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: 2 “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. 5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!
As these two verses proclaim, we are pieces of broken clay being molded into a beautifully whole vase to be displayed for His glory. It is not us who spins the potter’s wheel or controls the direction of the potter’s hands. We are the clay, the unmolded and undeveloped lumps of potential. And we only become fully shaped into the person we were designed to be when we surrender our broken pieces to Him to be shaped by His all-knowing hand.
He orders our steps in the hopes that we’ll walk down His chosen path, the narrow way of obedience and righteousness. He chose us before the foundation of the earth to be His and be in relationship with Him. He enables us with unique gifts and talents to use for His glory and our fulfillment. And He does all this knowing we are broken human beings that strive for a perfection we will never achieve in our earthly bodies. He sees all our pieces – broken, healed, doubtful, faithful, loving, judgmental, shameful, free – and loves us through them. It is our pieces that remind us we are designed to be dependent on Him. It is our brokenness that leads us to humility and fullness of life.
So when I look at the broken window at work, I will choose to remember God’s goodness and the overwhelming redemption and grace that come with relationship with God. I will look beyond the crack and the tape to see the sunlight streaming in.
God, I thank You now for the daily reminder of Your goodness and grace. I pray now, Lord, that the message carries over to my relationships. Help me to remember we are all broken and we all need love and grace. Help me to see people through Your eyes, to look at them and see the purpose, gifts, and talents You have implanted in them. Help me to encourage people toward You. And thank You, God, for keeping me on Your potter’s wheel. Thank You that keep refining me, refinishing me, reshaping me, remolding me. In those moments I want to jump off the wheel because it’s too much, please help me remember that You are the potter and the wheel is necessary. In Jesus’ all-powerful name, AMEN!