I learned an interesting lesson in ‘force’ a week and a half ago.
Really, I blame the whole thing on Pinterest. You see, we have a really nice outdoor space at our house here in Calacalí. However, we haven’t given it a ton of attention– though we’d like to! And of course, when you desire to spruce something up, to pinterest.com you must go. We searched and came up with the idea of making an outdoor chandelier comprised of driftwood from the beach, a rough kind of twine/rope, and glass jars that would hang from it, containing candles– something somewhat similar to the picture you see here.
We bought some candles. We already had the driftwood. And when over at a friends’ house, we were offered a couple of perfect, empty pasta jars. I went home that night bound to make this thing happen. The problem was, the mouth of the jar was a little smaller than the jar itself, as well as the size of the candles.
No problem. I took out a knife to shave down the candle. I take the shaved-down candle and begin to insert it into the jar. The thing is, the candle still doesn’t quite fit. But it was close. I got it halfway in. A little further. And then. THEN I used force. I just knew I could get it through– it was so close! So I fixed my hand on the top of the candle and used a bit of my body weight. I pushed. And pushed. Until…
The glass jar completely shattered and exploded beneath the pressure being exerted upon it.
Needless to say, my hand got pretty cut up. I lost a fair amount of blood. It hurt quite a lot. And I felt light-headed and quite foolish for the rest of the night. Just in the past couple of days is the last of the wounds finally healing completely.
The lesson here is perhaps quite obvious, but I’ll share it just the same. God has been showing me through all of this that force is not the answer. I mean… is force ever the answer? Granted, force can bring about results. Things can get done under pressure and tension… but I think relationships are almost always damaged as a result of this approach.
I’ve watched the series ’24’ on-and-off over the past couple of years. I’m reminded of the principal character, Jack Bauer. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the show, but Jack is someone who gets things done– no matter what the cost. He gets results. He does terrible things constantly to force results and get answers; and he gets them. But he is an island. I haven’t watched the entire series, but until this point, I have yet to see a single person that deeply cares about Jack. He’s burned essentially every person he knows at one point or another. Is that a good reputation: someone who is able to force results?
The method does matter. The heart does matter. And I see obvious parallels in evangelism. When we share the Gospel, are we thinking of the person with our heart and longing for them as a friend to know the greatest truth that exists– or do we see them as a number? Do we think in terms of heads to count at whatever the cost, whatever method necessary? Or do we see them as people, children dearly loved who are complex and need time and love and care? Force is not the answer, as I clearly learned with my hand and the pasta jar.
What great news we have to share with those around us! The truth of the Gospel– of what Christ did– this is a message that everyone needs to hear! But how we deliver that message is important. We represent a loving God who cares deeply for each and every individual in our world. I pray that I always keep in mind that force, though at times might be easier, is not likely going to bring about the results I would hope. May we walk in the truths of God’s word, ever learning, ever striving to grow and be more like our Savior, Jesus Christ.