Mending the Broken

The other day my wife was sharing with me about a co-worker who is really good with tending plants. Her co-worker often purchases the plants that are withered, have torn branches and look dead. One day while in line to purchase a few of these plants, a landscaper came up behind her. As he surveyed her plants, he leaned over and stated, “I don’t think those are going to make it.” She looked up at him and just smiled, because she knew what they would become with the proper care.

In the world today, there are many who are like those withered and dying plants. They have been worn down by the economy, family issues, and frankly, in some cases, the church itself. I remember reading a post on Facebook by a man who was so frustrated and beat down by a church institution that he emphatically decided that all organized church bodies were spawned by the devil. After seven years, the institution he attended had literally torn his family and faith apart.

We must be careful not to view those who have either fallen or stumbled in their faith, or even those who have never come to know Christ with the perspective of the Landscaper. Galatians 6:1 states: “Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you also won’t be tempted.” It is not God’s will that we look upon those who are broken with judging eyes, but that we see them as He sees them.” We are all in need of His grace, love and compassion. It’s the deception of the enemy to think otherwise.

Instead, let’s challenge ourselves to see things like my wife’s coworker, who spends time and resources restoring to life that which appears dead. In Ezekiel 37, God comes upon Ezekiel in a valley full of dry bones. God asks Ezekiel, “Can these bones live?” Ezekiel replies, “You alone know, Lord.” Ezekiel’s response sets the example for us. Presuming we know a person’s destiny through our limited understanding can be dangerous. Only God knows the heart of a person, and if a person can be restored.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”(I Sam 16:7)

In the story of the valley of dry bones, God tells Ezekiel to speak to the bones. He not only tells Ezekiel to speak to them, He also directs Ezekiel what to say. This is key for approaching any situation or circumstance. When we speak only through guidance of the Holy Spirit and not out of our own limited understanding, God’s Word will bring forth life and restoration. Our words will just cause more confusion and strife.

John 14:26 “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

So next time you see someone who has fallen or strayed, or if you know someone who is dealing with ongoing issues, avoid the landscaper perspective. Instead, be the person who knows how to gently restore that person back to the faith with love and compassion.