Let Down Your Guard
Kaden cautiously entered the dark hallway in a defensive ninja stance (or what he imagined that might look like). His hands were ready to karate chop anything that jumped out at him and his legs were in a permanent crouch. It started out as a joke as we entered the haunted house full of zombies. Without realizing it, his hands remained in ninja position throughout the entire house. He was on guard for anything that lurked around the next corner.
Our neighbor gave us passes to an amusement park that became “haunted” at night. We are a family that loves fantasy–Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars. The idea of entering the pretend world of zombies created by a chemical spill sounded like fun. By the time we exited the zombie house, the walkways of the amusement park were teeming with characters acting as fantastical creatures–vampires, wendigos, and other creepy monsters that go bump in the night. Even when we saw the characters in advance, a sudden movement or loud noise (like a shovel scraping on the ground right by our feet) made us jump. We became hyper-aware of our surroundings, always on our guard.
Hours later, we headed out of the park. The park exit stood a mere 50 feet away. We tasted freedom … when a boy who looked to be about 6 or 7 years old jumped out of nowhere. He wasn’t even an employee of the park, just a kid having fun. Most 6 or 7 year olds aren’t too scary or intimidating by nature and this boy was no different. We were so tense from all the jump-scares of the night that we even jumped at a small boy saying “Ah!” and pouncing on us from the bushes. Pretty pathetic!
Sometimes we travel through life the same way my family walked through that amusement park–on guard. We’ve been hurt before so we’re just waiting to be hurt again. We’re ready to karate chop anyone we might encounter along the way even before they get a chance to hurt us. We walk around with venomous words poised on the tips of our tongues, ready to strike at the slightest provocation.
“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” Proverbs 15:1 NLT http://bible.com/116/pro.15.1.nlt
Being ready to pounce on unsuspecting bystanders is not the answer to how to deal with past hurts. We have a responsibility to forgive others, if not for their sake, then for our own. When we choose to forgive others just as Christ forgave us, we release the tension that has been gripping us, keeping us on guard, refusing to let new people in for fear of being hurt again.
If we decide to let down our guard and embrace the possibility of new relationships, how should we interact with others?
“Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” Colossians 4:6 NLT http://bible.com/116/col.4.6.nlt
Let’s drop the defensive ninja position and, instead, extend grace to others. God has extended favor to us that we are incapable of earning. Let’s allow that grace to fill our minds and ooze out of our mouths.