We recently bought a cabin about four hours away from our home in Los Angeles. It was built in 1982, making it 35 years old. For us this is relatively new compared to our primary home which was built in 1930.
One of the fun aspects for me is making small repairs and renewing some of the neglected things around the cabin. I am also crafting or repurposing a few things from cast aside materials and secondhand stores.
This metaphor (or is it simile or analogy?) has been used numerous times to illustrate how God works in us, making us new and doing so with delight. But I think we also have an opportunity to do the same in our relationships with each other.
We live in a culture that tends to throw things away. We replace rather than repair. But I have found that we often trade down rather than up. Our old toaster got much hotter than our new one. So did our iron (you know, the thing that you used before permanent press came along). Unfortunately people do that with relationships as well.
So how do we reverse that in marriage or friendships or at the workplace?
We make old things new:
- Every time we mend a relationship with forgiveness
- Every time we treat someone with a more positive attitude
- Every time we swallow hurtful words
- Every time we confront with love rather than avoid
- Every time we listen rather than doing all the talking
- Every time we make room for the other person’s perspective
- Every time we power down rather than power up
I can demolish something very quickly. Give me a big hammer and a crowbar and I can reverse someone’s craftsmanship in a mater of minutes (often my own). That doesn’t take skill or maturity. What does take skill is to look at something that has been neglected or damaged and figure out how to lovingly restore it.
When Nan and I were younger that was the choice that was in front of us. We chose the harder path of making old things new by going to counseling. It changed our lives, mine especially. Do you hear a challenge in this? Is the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart?