Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Got Slapped In The Face!

I really did. Only, the dumb part of it is that I slapped myself. Here in Bolivia, bugs are a normal part of life. At any given time, our kids will have about 20 scabs on their bodies from insect bites. Mosquitos, fleas, and native blood sucking body biting insects are so numerous that I want to claim them as dependents and write them off of my income tax.

Well, I was driving down the road, and a huge fly…the Goliath of Flies…was taunting me and challenging me to a battle. It kept buzzing my face and then landing in striking distance, only to prove that it was much faster than I as it took off milliseconds before I hit it. I could hear it making fun of me in buzzanol (the official language of bugs). It buzzed around my face, and then landed on my nose at a redlight. Without thinking I slapped that bug. I mean SLAPPED that bug. I hit it full force with the palm of my hand, or tried to hit it. It flew away and I literally punched my self in the nose! My eyes were watering and my entire forehead and nose were red. My nose wasn’t bleeding, but it was sure hurting.

I stared laughing with the bug (I could understand it’s buzzanol and knew it was laughing). How silly. Yet here is what happened. The irritant was greater than my thinking processes. I allowed something as trivial as a bug flying in my truck to refocus my priorities and make me do something that I ended up regretting. As I looked objectively at the situation…I only had to wait seven days at the max and the little bugger would be dead (lifespan of a fly). However, I let this little buzzing noise totally grab my attention and cause me to do something that wasn’t wise and that I regretted…and it did not solve the problem.

How often do we do that in life? God allows irritants in our lives to show us areas where we need to submit to Christ. He uses these so that by our reactions, by our thoughts, by our desires towards them we can see the fruit of our own hearts. The irritant (many times it has the name of one of our children—just being honest here) is a teaching tool that God can use to make me more like Christ. Then in wisdom and with the heart of God, I can respond to the irritant in a way that solves the problem and brings honor to Jesus Christ.

But what do we do? We look at the irritant and it irritates us (go figure). One of the things that I have discovered is that sinners respond sinfully to sin. We also many times respond sinfully—or at best unwisely, to problems that frustrate our desires. So we slap at them. We strike them. We focus on them. We want nothing more than to be rid of them. And we end up….slapping ourselves. We slap ourselves by the way we speak to our loved ones. We slap ourselves by the way we treat those around us. We slap ourselves by the thoughts we think. And we punch ourselves by the way that we ignore the working of God in our lives.

My kids have a game that they play with the little ones. They take their hand and make them slap themselves (very gently) and say, “Stop slapping yourself, stop slapping yourself”.

My lesson from the fly? “Stop slapping yourself”.

With A Hurting Nose,
Joe

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