Posted by: Derek Guyer | May 25, 2010

Redeeming Stains

Recently, I have learned a great lesson from a simple flower.   My husband gave me a huge bouquet of lilies for our anniversary. He wrote a beautiful note with it saying that he struggled with knowing what to get me for our anniversary. He started at the flower stand, but then walked away thinking they were cliché.  After looking around for a while though, he was drawn back to the flowers.

He chose to buy the lilies for a specific reason. He said that he wanted to buy a flower that was more beautiful on the inside than on the outside (which lilies are).  He bought them because he said that he wanted to get something that symbolized how much he appreciated my inward beauty much more so than my outer beauty. (BTW, before you get upset with him, he DID say that he thought I was beautiful on the outside as well!)

Yes, ladies, he is very sweet, but I am not recalling this story to praise him or to praise my own “inward beauty”.  Instead, I must finish telling you the story…

Every day, the flowers became more beautiful.  More buds opened up and the blooms got bigger.  They actually were quite breath-taking.  However, as all flowers do, the blooms began to wilt and, as they did, the pollen began to fall off and dust my counter with yellow sprinkles.  Not really a big deal until tonight when I accidentally knocked the whole jar over and yellow sprinkles covered my counter.  I quickly grabbed the flowers and began TRYING to wipe up the “sprinkles”.  Unfortunately, lily “sprinkles” do NOT wipe up.  Instead, they stain.  They stain badly.  My entire counter and sink looks as though it has a bad case of yellow chicken pox.  However, as I scrubbed and scrubbed (to no avail), I began to think about this “inward beauty” that had stained my counter…

My inward beauty is not just mine. I share it with everyone around me. I show my inward self every time I open my mouth (whether good or bad).  Every situation I’m in, I sprinkle a little of my inward self on those I am interacting with.  If it’s a short interaction (as in the days where the flowers were only barely losing pollen), the stain may be hardly noticeable at all.  However, with continued interactions (like when I dumped the entire jar!), the stains were inevitable.

My point?  Think about those you are around the most.  Your husband?  Your children?  Your co-workers?  These are all people who you are probably “staining” with your inward self.  Many times a stain can be a terrible thing.  Something that ruins an entire object.  However, there are other times when stains can be good and actually the only redeeming quality about something.  How are you “staining” those around you? Are you staining them with hatred, unkind words, belittling comments, and selfishness?  Or are you staining them with love, patience, forgiveness, and mercy?

I must admit that this really got me thinking, because I know that more often than I’d like to admit, I’m staining my husband and children with harsh and discouraging words rather than words that build them up and strengthen them.  It can be very disheartening when you hear your oldest child talk down to and belittle his younger sister in the same way that he hears you belittling your husband.  In the same way though, it can be very encouraging to hear that same son tell his sister that he believes in her because he has heard you say that to your husband in a moment where he has doubted himself. It’s a moment by moment challenge, but  let me encourage you, as Paul encouraged Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12, to “be an example…in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” Make sure your “stains” on others do nothing but help to redeem them back to their Creator.

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