This week I was driving into Belfast, the same route I have taken hundreds of times, when something I have never noticed before caught my attention.
I don’t know why this journey was any different. Or if maybe just God drew my attention to it, with the thought of what he wanted to communicate to me. (Because I needed to hear this! I’m not sharing anything I haven’t had to address myself.)
What I noticed that I have not ever seen before was a derelict house. This house sat just down off the road up in the hills with the most stunning sprawling views of the countryside for miles and miles. My first thought was why no one had snapped it up and renovated it. The site itself surely would be a much sought after location. But as I drove on down the hill into the city, I started to think about how the house would have got in such a bad way in the first place.
Perhaps the owners had died with no one to pass it on to. Or maybe the house needed too many things done, and it was cheaper to buy a new one. I don’t know, I’m sure there are endless possibilities why that property ended up in such a bad state with windows smashed, no doubt by vandals, roof tiles missing and overgrown garden and rusted gates.
However, that house can’t have gone from a beautiful family home to that derelict wreck overnight.
It had to be over a long period of neglect and mistreatment and a long time of a lack of care on someone’s part.
Oh, hurry up Terri and get to the point!!
Well, my point is… sometimes we Christians get ourselves in the same state as that house. We can be set in the perfect location, i.e. the local church with magnificent surroundings, and yet somehow one decision at a time we can find ourselves in really poor condition.
One decision like letting unforgiveness fester and letting your heart turn bitter towards someone (roof tiles), another decision to sit over lunch and gossip and spread hatred (smashed window), then choosing to retaliate with revenge of some sort (overgrown garden).
Not that we are ever past a God restoration job when we get to this stage. We could never be too far gone for God, but as much as God is a God of restoration he doesn’t go back and rewrite your past. Believe me, I’ve prayed enough asking for it. There are always going to be natural consequences for your actions. That’s why it is so essential for us to keep a short account of our sin.
If you’re hurt, who do you need to forgive?
If you’re wrong, who do you need to apologise to?
As soon as you know it, do something about it! Pray to forgive, repent, apologise, whatever needs to be done do it as soon as you recognise it. That way, your heart won’t have the opportunity to become derelict and destroyed.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
Psalms 139:23-24 NLT
I encourage you today to regularly invite God in to examine your heart and see if there is anything hidden that you need to address. Also, draw alongside someone who you love and trust and give them permission to speak into your life. When they do you will know that it is coming with love that will hold you accountable when you veer off the track a little. I have these people in my life and their loving guidance has helped me avoid disastrous consequences on more that one occasion. Have that conversation. Let the person know they have your permission.
“You can trust a friend who wounds you with his honesty, but your enemy’s pretended flattery comes from insincerity.”
Proverbs 27:6 TPT