Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child. Have fun!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The broken plate

For most of us, a visual illustration will make a point stick much better than any 3-point sermon or lecture. I can think back on 40+ years of weekday classes and weekend sermons and I can't honestly remember one of them. (My apologies to the Good Doctor from whom it could be argued that I should have memorized every word.) What I do remember, are specific skits, or object lessons, or even a soloist singing thought-provoking lyrics. Makes sense since Jesus used parables and object lessons to teach both those closest to Him and the crowds that followed Him. What excellent examples we have from His life on earth.

When teaching a truth to my children, I like to think of a story (parable?), or an object lesson, or even a reenactment (no video cameras, please), to help make the point stick. One of my favorites, which has probably been used on each of the older children at some time in their first 10 years, is one I believe came from a Focus on the Family publication. We all struggle with our words, and remembering to speak kindly so this lesson has the children race to see who can empty a tube of toothpaste first. After congratulating the winner, I then ask the children to race to see who can put the toothpaste back into the tube first. Some will attempt, others will realize the futility. It's an excellent demonstration of how our words come out easily, but cannot be put back. From this realization, we can talk about controlling the tongue.

More recently, I stumbled across an object lesson about the effects of hurting another person. In the end, God used this lesson to teach me as well. I've used this lesson with two different children, on two different occasions. In each situation, the child had purposely done something against another person.  I took a plate from the drawer and walked outside with the child. I asked the child to throw the plate to the ground several feet away. To their credit, each of them first looked at me like I was nuts but when assured that I truly wanted them to break the plate, they did. The plate shattered (between you and me, I never liked those plates all that much anyway). I told the child to apologize to the plate. After doing so, I asked the question, "Did anything change? Did apologizing to the plate fix it?"  In both cases, this led to a wonderful conversation about the damaging effects of our actions, the need for apologizing, but the realization that even if we glued it back together, the plate was ruined. Lesson learned and we moved on.

Recently, however, God gave me a picture to show me that I missed the end of the story, the other side of the story. After a very hurtful experience, I saw Jesus picking up the pieces of my heart much like we carefully picked up the pieces of that broken plate. He put those pieces together one by one. It didn't look anything like it had in the beginning, but it was healed just as a surgeon would heal a wound. It is scarred but it's not useless. We can do our best to pick up the pieces after hurting someone but true healing comes when Jesus picks up the pieces and puts them back right where they belong.

And that's a picture that will stick with me.

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