The Beauty of Snow
"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." Isaiah 1:18
Words cannot describe the beautiful perfection of the white snow gently falling against the black dresses and black suits as our family huddled together to say our final goodbyes. It looked like a scene from a movie. Quiet. Calm. Surreal.
Last year on this date, some of us gathered for a small private family funeral for my grandfather. It had been a long four years of suffering, worrying, caring, and countless doctor visits. We know that others would have loved to join us, but I think we all needed a chance to let our guard down and grieve together. My mom and her sisters had spent hours and hours selflessly doing whatever they could to help him and they honestly just needed a break.
While we were inside the funeral chapel worshipping, remembering, and crying together, a small blizzard had rolled in. When we opened the doors to head out to the gravesite, we were met with snowflakes falling as the white sky blended in with the white ground. The words of Amazing Grace gently cut through the quiet as God's presence sprinkled down on our family.
I am so grateful for the snow falling that day. It's beauty and peace will forever be in my heart, and every time it snows, I am reminded of God's presence and forgiveness. Just as the snow falls to cover the ground, Jesus' blood covers our sins so they can't be seen anymore.
My grandpa wasn't perfect, but who is? He didn't have the easiest life, but he persevered. He never gave up. I don't know if he always had Jesus by his side, but I know that at the end he did, and that's what matters. The amazing thing about Jesus is that you can come to him at anytime, and he forgives you and invites you to spend eternity with him. He washes you as white as snow.
Whatever you're going through right now whether it be anxiety, frustration, worry, or loss, know that God is with you. I pray that the beauty of the falling snow is a reminder of God's presence and that knowledge will bring you peace that passes all understanding.
The Spin Factor
"Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body." Ephesians 4:25 NIV
Have you heard of a fidget spinner? It looks like a toy that spins and is supposed to direct all of the fidgety energy so a person can focus. Well, from a former teacher's perspective: Worst. Invention. Ever.
Maybe they work for some people, but I remember when these first came out, my fairly good hearing could pick up a tiny squeaking/scraping noise, and I would ask the class what was going on. Of course, someone would confess that they had a fidget spinner. The spinning may have been calming to them, but annoying to everyone else.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone trying to justify their sin? They are kind of like a human fidget spinner. They direct all of their energy to the "because" "but" "if" reasons to comfort themselves, but they're not fooling anyone around them. They're just sending out a wave of awkward red flags. Anyone listening can hear the "squeaking" of their justification.
In the book of Ephesians, Chapter 4:17-32, Paul is pretty clear about instructions for Christian living. He says over and over that as Christians, we are to be like Christ and put off the old way of life. Others live in sin, but we know better.
First of all, I think it's important to examine our own lives and make sure we're not spinning anything to continue in sin. Do you find yourself having a little personal discussion telling yourself it's okay to do something? Maybe watching certain movies, sharing crude jokes, drinking a little too much, gossiping, starting arguments on social media? Spend a little time in confession and asking God for help with these things.
Next, what do you do when you know someone is spinning a story to you? I know it's difficult and awkward, but here are a couple basic responses.:
Some words of caution when talking to someone who is spinning their sin is that you must be patient and hold your temper. From my observations and experience, people can get very defensive when justifying their sin. The smallest question can trigger anger or a long rant on why they are right. Be calm, be kind, and show them the love of Christ. As Christians, we should encourage each other to make right decisions and be good examples. Sometimes, it's hard, but let God be your strength and courage!