We have a saying in our family, "Don't be a wedge."
Granted, it's said mostly to one child.
He has a gift for provoking, dividing us in anger or frustration.
One day in school, we studied the wedge as a tool. I explained to the kids that a family is like a piece of wood. We have cracks, but we're a solid unit. When one child acts as a wedge in a family, they stick in the crack, and their actions and words hammer and split apart something that was whole.
"Don't be a wedge."
We walk this Christian walk with others and we learn from each other. We've been close to a family for years, and this family also harbors a wedge. And as their wedge got older, the consequences, the frustration, the crack in the family veneer, deepened. But what dawned on me the other day is this family is not falling apart. God is using this child to provoke things deep within themselves, things that never would have come to light if it hadn't been for the struggles with this child. And the way they handle the situation brings glory to God and brings others closer to God.
And their child, with wedge tendencies, is a tool used by God to bring light into dark places.
Jesus was a wedge. Everywhere he went He caused division. Because God didn't care about what people looked like on the outside. God cared about their hearts. God is in the business of cracking people wide open, healing, and binding up again. Jesus blatantly stated that He came to divide, "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division....They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter..." * You get the idea.
To God, no whole is worth more than the Spiritual whole.
He knows that we can put up a good facade while we put our faith in a whole lot of other things, but by His Grace, He cracks the facade asunder, shows the rotten core of our faith, exposes the heart.
Jesus brings light into dark places.
The family who's wounds are bound by God, who's fissures and cracks prompt repentance, confession, change and growth, will be used by God.
We have a wedge, and we have to acknowledge that for some reason, God wanted us to have him. We need him in our family.
Just because something is whole, doesn't mean it's healthy.
The core of our family could be rotting, but as long as we're keeping it together on the outside, we resist help. Jesus refers to this as "whitewashed tombs."*
So my thinking evolves. And I thank God that the son who provokes has a purpose. And I pray that I stop resisting the wedge and let it do it's God-given work in our lives. Even when that's painful. Even when it cracks the veneer. Because I want light more than I want a glossy exterior.
And I thank God for friends who let me see into their crevasses and who say in the dark places, "God is good to allow this."
Because He is.
I need to alter the family saying,
because any tool in the hand of God can wield good.
*Luke 12:51-53 NIV
*Matt. 23:27 NIV