AFO-LAW

20 05 2010

Caedmon wears a device on each of his feet known as AFO’s, you might have heard us refer to them as his “boots.” They have very specific purpose and that is to force his feet into their proper alignment so that he can maintain some stability. Here’s the problem, his feet tend to want to do their own thing.

The Cerebral Palsy has affected his feet in such a way that his toes are almost always pointed. He is capable of relaxing them but it would be like you lifting your toes while you had 100 pounds tied them. Most of our feet, when relaxed, lie basically perpendicular to our legs. Caedmon’s might too, but he can almost never relax. He is to flexibility what Nascar is to turning right…

So we place his feet into the AFO’s and then velcro the straps down over the top of his foot, the joint of his ankle, and around his calf. Once he is strapped into his boots, he can sit or stand with his feet flat. Ideally we will get to a place where we no longer need to use the AFO’s but that is unlikely and probably a long way off. In the mean time we use the law… err AFO’s (did I let the cat out of the bag?) to get his feet to function properly.

This illustrates the dynamic of what the Bible refers to as the “law.” We aren’t talking about laws like this one from Georgia; “No one may carry an ice cream cone in their back pocket if it is Sunday.” We are talking about THE Law, God’s Law, thou shalt not kill and stuff.

Where this gets interesting is when Jesus came on the scene and claimed to “fulfill the law and offered grace to the world. Some people take the doctrine of grace, offer it a lollypop, jerk it into their van, and then drive it off into the woods and beat it. They live as if there were no law because “love covers a multitude of sins.” By their reasoning; we can lie, cheat, and steal all day long and just proclaim grace.

Other people see grace standing on the side of the road and are scared he has a knife in his pocket so they drive on by and leave him standing there. These folks tend to be a bit overbearing. Not only do they have a “Jesus fish” on their car, but they would tell you that Hell is promised for those who don’t.

I would argue that neither group is correct… hence the need for the AFO’s.

You see, our natural tendency is to self. We love us. But, God says that’s a bad idea. If I love me it is normally to the neglect of you which tends to disrupt relationships. Not only that, the love of the man in the mirror keeps us from loving the man on the throne, Jesus. This is what we are talking about when Christians use the S-word…sin.

Our natural inclination is not correct, neither is it helpful to our own well-being. God provided the Law to serve in much the same capacity as Caedmon’s AFO’s. It is a rigid, corrective measure that forces us to maintain the correct moral posture. Ideally we won’t always need the law but that is unlikely. The law provides that objective measure by which we can judge our behavior and motivations.

But, as we are all too plainly aware, we will not ever master the law. This is where Jesus comes in. He loves us knowing our inclination to self and desire for sin. He loves us more than we can really understand. You can tell your dog you love him all day long, but he really doesn’t get it. There is a gap in communication. Our communication gap with God is similar; we don’t fully get it.

The point is; without the law we would be walking around hurting ourselves and others without really knowing what was wrong.

Just like Caedmon’s AFO’s provide a feel for how it is supposed to work and, in turn, allow him the freedom to experience that much more.
God’s law provides for us, when applied, a feel for how life is supposed to work and, in turn, allows us the freedom to experience that much more.

God’s law informs us that something is wrong.
It provides the mold for us to conform our lives to.
And, it points us to Christ who overcame sin and promised us new life.

As Caedmon grows and we work on his flexibility and strength he may not need the AFO’s as much. When we put them on him now he gets red marks where his feet were resisting them and he gets blisters where his feet were rubbing against them.Eventually he may be able to put them on like you put on shoes, no friction, just the benefits.

I hope I grow spiritually much the same way. Some parts of the law really rubbed me the wrong way in years past, but now I embrace them. 

Maybe you have struggled with elements of God’s law? You might feel it is too restrictive or harsh. We have all felt that way at times. Some of it is difficult to accept. That just points out our need. If I chose not to use Caedmon’s AFO’s just because it felt restrictive or harsh we would never use them and he would suffer for it. The same is true morally and spiritually for us, we have to get past our “feelings” and trust the long-term benefit of God’s law.

While we keep trusting God’s law to guide our behavior; we trust Jesus to redeem our hearts. He is the only one who has ever lived that didn’t need AFO’s. His bent was towards obedience to God. Was he tempted, sure; but he never succumbed to it. He is perfect, He is God. This is how his death on the cross and resurrection from the dead are our rescue from this life of dysfunction.

Instead of cursing the Law, we should thank the law for revealing to us our need and then thank God for meeting that need in Jesus.

Thanks to Jesus; one day we won’t need the law and Caedmon won’t need AFO’s and that will be a great day!

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Autograph

18 05 2010

The family was in downtown Atlanta on Saturday for the kite festival and to hang out with my sister Angie, our friends Amanda and James, and our new friend Kristin. We all had lunch at CNN Center where Atlanta Braves second baseman Martin (Mar-teen) Prado was signing autographs. There was a little time to kill so Caedmon and Jackson each got an autograph.

Jackson walked up to me with his paper and asked, “Dad, what does this say?” I told him it said Martin Prado. He disagreed, “No it doesn’t. It says blah.” I laughed and he continued, “It doesn’t say anything.” I wanted to correct him but as I looked at the mark I was compelled to agree with him.

We even asked a security guard what it said and his honest reply was, “I have no idea, what is it?”

People were in line for hours to get “blah” scribbled onto jerseys, hats, posters, etc. Am I the only one who doesn’t get it?

Anyhow, my philosopher sister Angie declared a new edict that all autographs (and signatures for all you doctors out there) need to be legible. I concur, enough with the written gibberish!

Were I to come upon this alleged autograph in a store or on the street I wouldn’t recognize it and I certainly wouldn’t make any effort to obtain it. It is unrecognizable.

This got my thinking about chlorophyll, hummingbirds, and bombardier beetles. Here’s what I mean…

What does the following say?

If you said John Hancock, you would have correctly identified that collection of 11 letters and 1 space. The signature was written clearly enough for an honest person to acknowledge that it says John Hancock.

If we were to go back and look at Prado’s autograph and ask what it says we would get any number of answers. Although, most people would probably just say it is scribbles.

Did you know that God has given us His autograph? Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”  Also in the 1st chapter of the letter written to the church in Rome we read, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

God’s autograph is all around us. From the incredibly specific and complex design of chlorophyll to the design of the human eye. It is seen in the miracle of rain (you really ought to read the preceeding link when you finish this, so cool) and the beauty of a coral reef. He has provided the most profound and awe-inspiring sign our world has ever known and we can see it every day. It is more incredible than cured cancer, more fantastic than a parted sea, and more stunning than blind man seeing. Our universe is screaming out to us saying, “You think I’m awesome, you should see who made me!”

Sure, science can “explain” many things but that’s just it. All science is doing is reading the signature. For all the “explaining” and copying that science does it cannot create. All it can do is mimic. What we have begun to do is worship the handwriting experts and forget the miracle in the autograph.

Every time the miracle of your olfactory system interprets the glory of fresh-baked bread and that smell actually produces within you a feeling of enjoyment… God has given you His autograph.

Every time the miracle of your eyesight interprets the vibrant colors of autumn leaves and the depth of the mountains they are found on and you are struck with a sense of awe… God has given you His autograph.

Every time a tree falls in the woods and you are there to hear it and your ears interpret it’s sound… God has given you His autograph.

Our Creator didn’t give us an autograph like Martin Prado, His is much closer to John Hancock’s. The question we must ask ourselves is, “Can I read it?” The next question is more important than the first, “What does it say?”

I’ll give you a hint… watch





Way to go Daniel…

17 05 2010

Jeni, the boys, and I went to lunch with my brother Daniel and our friend Brent to one of the Chili’s restaurants around Atlanta yesterday. We had a great time watching Andrew throw anything within arms reach at anyone within throws reach. Brent and Caedmon played tic-tac-toe, Jackson colored on his menu, Toby ate continuously and we had a cheerful time. But, in a matter of moments everything changed. (insert dramatic, cliffhanger music here)

Caedmon had been his smiley self, prompting Brent to ask, “Is this the happiest kid in the world?” (or something like that). Anyway, towards the end of dinner Caedmon told us he had to go the bathroom and asked Daniel to watch his food for him. His concern is rooted in Andrew’s reaching and throwing habit. Daniel started playing with Caedmon and acting like he was going to eat Caedmon’s food. Laughter and squealing ensued as I wheeled Caedmon to the bathroom.

Continuing the game, Caedmon had me call Daniel from the bathroom and remind him not to eat his food. That sweet little, never hurt anyone, delight of a child was having such innocent fun with his trustworthy, loving uncle. As we walked through the restaurant back to our table Caedmon could be heard from a distance as he lost the battle to contain his enthusiasm. But, (insert another dose of dramatic music) when we arrived at the table Caedmon’s plate was gone! Daniel told Caedmon that he had eaten the rest of his food!

Caedmon’s face was robbed of its carefree joy and invaded by a foreign presence of heartache. He dropped his head down, laying his forehead across his right forearm, staring at the floor below. Daniel began asking, “Is he sad? Is he really sad?” All the while tears had begun racing each other to the floor to escape the sadness portrayed by Caedmon’s heartbroken countenance. He finally lifted his head to reveal his anguish and the groveling began.

Daniel quickly returned the plate of food that he had hidden and began pleading with the lamenting toddler, “I’m sorry Caedmon.” Thankfully Jeni had come prepared with some leftover chocolate cake and we were able to divert Caedmon’s attention to the imminent sweet relief. Crisis averted, lesson learned.

Caedmon’s distress came from a combination of  factors.

1) He really wanted his dinner.
2) The person he trusted appeared to have betrayed him.
3) He really, really wanted his dinner.

The  incident had me thinking about that second factor. Reliability, trustworthiness, shooting straight.

In our personal relationships it is always tough to tell whether or not someone is “shooting straight” with us. Do they have an ulterior motive? Are they simply dishonest? Or, do the know and tell the truth? The classic stereotype of this is found in the politician. But, that’s for another blog and another blogger.

I want to point out something about the God that loves me and you.

(I know that not everyone reading this is a theist, much less a Christian but can I encourage you to consider these words. You aren’t sitting in a church, no one is watching you or judging you. You have the freedom to reflect on these ideas and ask God to help you understand them… what do you have to lose?)

1) He is trustworthy. We can take God at his word.
2) He has “shot straight” with us. Now, we may not like what God has communicated to us through the Bible but we can agree that he didn’t mince words. Many people struggle with the idea that they are a sinner, but that’s what the Bible says. We wrestle with the idea that our goodness might not be enough to make God accept us, but that’s what the Bible says. So, what are we to do with this?

In my little parable about Caedmon and Daniel, the villain was Daniel because he made a false promise and when it proved false Caedmon was heartbroken. The promise Daniel made represents the lie that we are being fed in our culture. The lie that we are good enough for Heaven or that God is mean-spirited and evil because some go to Hell. Unfortunately, when our time comes if we have believed the lie we will find ourselves heartbroken beyond words as we stand before the Holy One.

God has stated His case plainly. No one is good enough for Heaven. Secondly, He is love. He doesn’t just love or have the capability to love… He is love. To not love is impossible for Him. Our not being good enough and His love collided just outside of Jerusalem about 2000 years ago when Jesus was crucified.

Our sin was placed onto Jesus, God incarnate, so that the payment for sin could be paid for everyone. From the beginning God knew of our condition and promised a rescue. Jesus is that rescue. We now have the benefit of history and hindsight to look back and embrace our rescuer. But many of us have believed the lie so we look back at the rescuer and find Him silly or dishonest. We have exchanged the truth for a lie.

How different would our lunch experience have been if it had gone like this…

“Caedmon, not only will I watch over your food but, if you believe me and trust me with this I will have chocolate cake waiting on you when you return. Do you believe me?” Caedmon would have replied, “Yeah!” and he would have instantly begun pointing towards the bathroom so that I would get him moving. His faith in Daniel being pure and knowing that he had to go in order for the cake to appear. While Caedmon was gone, Daniel cut a bronto-slab of cake and smothered Caedmon’s plate with it. It goes without saying that upon his return, Caedmon would have been thrilled, Daniel would have been thrilled, and cake would have been devoured.

You see, God has made that offer to you and to me. “If you will trust me with your life and believe me about Jesus then I will have eternal life for you when you get to me. Do you believe me?” Oh, that we would respond like Caedmon. But too many of us get distracted by the naysayers and the business of life and never accept God’s offer. Sad.

When the day comes and you find yourself being pushed up to God’s table will you have heartbroken tears or will you have cake?





Nice mud

13 05 2010

 A few weeks ago Jeni was inspired to become a gardener. Mrs. Nita goes to our church and she volunteered to help Jeni get started. True to her word she showed up one afternoon with a “tear up the ground machine” (see picture over there) and some gifts for our boys to put in the garden.

By the time those eager ladies were done we had not one, but two plots. Each of them large enough to park a couple of cars on! So the gardening began. Jeni bought a bunch of seeds and plants and went about planting in both plots. Flowers in the front and food in the back. The boys helped her rake up rows and then plant the plants. Just like that, the planting was done and the watering began.

Have you ever been in a large stadium that was only partially full, that gives you an idea of what our garden’s look like. A fair amount of plants within a huge plot… sparse a best. The picture above depicts our gardens quite well. But after a few days Mrs. Nita came back over and she said the darndest thing. “Jeni, your gardens are beautiful!”

Ummmm, have you actually seen the gardens? Those gaping rectangles of mud where lush green sod once grew, those gardens? Those plots that more closely resemble Popeye’s chest hair than a fertile garden, are you sure you saw those? Are you sure you didn’t mean to say, “good start,”  “those have potential,” or “nice mud?” Beautiful?? Really?

She was sincere. And she is a knowledgeable farmeresque lady. Her words haunted me for a couple of days.

How could she say that?
How could she believe that?

Then it hit me. She appreciated the garden for what it was right then and wasn’t judging it on what it might be one day. It was a perfectly plowed, perfectly planted, and thoroughly watered garden complete with the cute little signs and everything. It wasn’t fully in bloom, but it was beautiful. Do you believe her?

This truth slugged me in the kidney. I tend to expect the people around me to be in full bloom, and think of them as ugly. Instead of seeing people as they are… on their way to bloom and beautiful in the moment.

The person I am most guilty of this with is my wife, Jeni. I might be the only jerk in the world-wide web who does this, but if I’m not hopefully you can learn from our beautiful garden’s too. You see, instead of appreciating my wife as a maturing garden; I just get upset that she isn’t Eden yet. Instead of celebrating the shoots that are growing and the plants that are filling out; I stubbornly demand fruit. Instead of savoring the process of watering her and cultivating growth; I withhold what she needs and get mad at her for not appearing lush. Are you convinced I’m a jerk yet?

Husbands this lesson it for you. Parents this lesson is for you. Coaches, you too. Anyone who has people in their life that aren’t perfect yet should find this applicable. Even as you look at yourself in the mirror each morning.

We are a work in progress, but there is beauty in the work already accomplished. Just like a plant, first breaking through the soil as it strives to be close to the sun is beautiful; so is your wife as she strives to be what God made her to be.

A budding plant might be surrounded by tons of dirt. Your wife is surrounded by piling laundry, sinks full of dishes, mouths demanding food, groceries yearning to be bought, diapers needing to be changed, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on some more.

It is easy for us to swoop in and only notice the “dirt” and fail to see the flower that is trying to survive in the midst of it all. We can get angry with that flower for being a little dirty, instead of brushing her off and appreciating who she is. Does it sting yet? I feel sick writing it, because it is true of me. Although, my prayer is that Lord willing, it was true of me.

Thankfully the flower blooming in my home already has branch of forgiveness and the leaves of love. I am thankful that she doesn’t see me as dirty and immature, but as beautiful just where I am and hopeful of who I am growing to be. Hopefully, we can see each other as Mrs. Nita sees a new garden. Hopefully, we can forgive those who see us like I have been guilty of doing.

Hopefully, we know that the master gardener, Jesus Christ, loves us just as we are and offers us the trellis of His Word to grow to full maturity and bear fruit for His glory. Amen.





“GO CAEDMON! GO CAEDMON!”

12 05 2010

I often am the one who picks up Caedmon from his kindergarten. He goes for a couple of hours, three days a week and he loves it. When I arrived today his friend Gabriel was reading to him and Caedmon began desperately attempting to tell me something.

His teacher saw us talking and came over to share what Caedmon was so excited about. He had driven his wheelchair from his desk over to the table (about 10 feet) all by himself! (not exactly all by himself, but you’ll understand in a minute)

He wanted to show me so we wheeled him over to his desk so that he could perform his “trick” again. Caedmon has not been very successful driving his wheelchair to date because CP has had a more significant impact on the left side of Caedmon’s body so he is very right-handed. Whenever I have seen him drive his chair he would go in circles because he would only use his right hand on the right wheel. Not today!

He got a good push with his right hand and the chair began on its path towards the desk… with a slight slice. But then he bent down and reached across his body, gripping the left wheel with his right hand and tried to push.

This was a struggle for him and he was working at it for a few seconds before the help arrived. (grab your kleenex) In unison, his classmates stopped what they were doing and began chanting, “GO CAEDMON! GO CAEDMON! GO CAEDMON!” It was so sincere and so wonderful. He tried a little harder and he was able to get that left wheel to turn, “GO CAEDMON!” Then he popped his body upright with a Cheshire cat grin and effortlessly pushed the right wheel, “GO CAEDMON!” He bent back over and worked the left wheel, “GO CAEDMON!” In just a couple of minutes he had manipulated his chair over to the table and parked it smoothly into place, “YEEEEEAAAAAHHHH CAEDMON!” Yeah Caedmon for sure… but WAY TO GO CLASS!!

This blog isn’t so much about Caedmon but about the kids in his class and their incredible encouragement. I don’t know that we fully appreciate how powerful our words can be when people in our lives are struggling. Caedmon has a hard time with some physical things, but who of us doesn’t have hard times be they physical or otherwise?

Maybe we know someone who is struggling emotionally? Maybe a friend has lost someone? Maybe a family member is stuck and can’t get themselves where they want to go? Do you know someone who feels like they just keep going in circles and can’t get any traction in life? Maybe they need some encouragement.

The Bible teaches us that we need to “spur one another on” and “encourage one another.” God knows what he’s talking about, he created us after all. We all need encouragement because we all struggle.

Who among us wouldn’t want to see our hurting friend get out of the rut and begin moving again. To see them advance from feeling powerless to believing that they can do it! This is where the encouragement comes in. You are that momentum. You are that rooting audience.

Nobody put a hand on Caedmon’s chair, no one offered to push. Instead, everyone was generous with encouragement! At one point his teacher tried to help him steer and Caedmon moved her hand away and insisted on doing it himself; what a contrast to one minute prior when he was stuck and struggling.

The simplicity of the kids cheers were profound. No one coached, no one said “use you left hand.” Just, “GO CAEDMON!” To the kids, the goal was simple, get across the room. We, in our “maturity” can sometimes lose sight of the goals.
We demand perfection, when maybe our friend just needs to get across the room.
We expect sobriety, when maybe our loved one just needs to make it one more day.

Am I saying we should settle? Not at all. You better believe we want Caedmon to use that left hand. But, the kids don’t have that job. The kids job is to lovingly encourage their friend. The Physical Therapist will work on the left hand. PT’s make Caedmon work, encouragement fuels him for that work.

Not all of us are therapists, pastors, counselors, or addiction specialists; but all of us are friends. All of us can help by providing that fuel of encouragement. Who can you encourage today? Who can you write the note to? Who can you cheer?

Remember one very important thing. Those kids didn’t wait for Caedmon to have success to begin their chant… they cheered believing that their encouragement would help him succeed!

Let’s encourage someone today.





The Light Under The Door

11 05 2010

Early in the morning, when I am meeting with God by reading His word and praying, I am often interrupted by a knocking at my office door. It isn’t an insistent knock, but a soft “I’m out here in case you are wondering” knock. The sun is just coming up so I will open the blinds and turn off the lights in the room. The little person knocking in my door can be spared the rude brightness of manufactured light in exchange for the welcoming illumination provided personally by God.

I know who’s out there. It’s always the same little boy. When the other boys get up they head straight through the kitchen and towards our bedroom to jump in bed with Jeni. But not this boy; this boy has a different perspective. When he comes out of his room he sees the light underneath my office door so he scoots right over to it and begins knocking. I can almost see his light coming underneath my office door too. “Good morning Caedmon!”

I will pick him up and he will lay on the bed next to my desk and look out the window as the day dawns before him. I will go back to my first appointment of the day, with God. This morning while I was praying for Caedmon I opened my eyes and looked at him. Instantly I stopped what I was saying and reflected on the blessing  laying just a few feet from me.

I often struggle with how to pray for him. As many of you know he has cerebral palsy which affects the development of his motor skills. Do I pray for God to let him be “normal?” HOW DARE I DO THAT!! I don’t want him to be normal. In fact, I’d rather be more like him than be more normal.

My prayers this morning “for him” instantly became prayers “for me.” As I looked at him laying on his tummy with his knees pulled up by his ribs just looking out the window content and calm, I envied him.

I thought of the night before when he had one of his laughing moments that took his breath away. “God, please let me laugh like Caedmon.”

I thought of how passionately he loves his “best buddies.” “God, please let me love as deeply as Caedmon.”

I thought of how he loves food, all food and starts saying “mmmmm”(yum) before it even gets in his mouth. “God, please let me savor life and express gratitude like Caedmon.”

I thought of all the people he has inspired and touched. “God please grant me a positive influence like Caedmon.”

Then I thought again of his body. I though about that borderline hateful word, “normal.”

Oh that I could be more like God and look at people’s hearts and not their outward appearance. Would I really want a son who had a sense of entitlement? That took his family for granted? That complained about the abundance in his life? That was disrespectful? But, walked “normal.”

As a dad who is ignorant and a christian who is aware that, the more I learn the less I know; I still wrestle. I look at Lebron James, Michael Phelps, and Lionel Messi and covet their athleticism and accomplishments on behalf of my boys. I know how much I love my Seminoles, Atlanta teams, and US Soccer and imagine how awesome it would be to have my boys competing on one of them.

At the same time, I see the lives of many of those guys. Lives full of broken relationships and despair. Boys with the responsibilities of men, acting like… boys. I see these elite athletes with their better than “normal” abilities and all too normal lives.*

What does that say about me? Is that what I want for my kids? “God forbid.”

I have lost my way a little here. This isn’t a blog about what’s wrong in sports, or the dangers of fame and fortune. This is a blog about me recognizing that I wish I were more like my son than I wish he were more like me. About me realizing that “normal” is ugly and God is more creative than that. I can’t explain why Toby crawls better than Caedmon. But even more bewildering (and unsettling), is why Caedmon loves people better than I do.

“God, please let me be more like Caedmon… please.”

*(authors disclaimer. The paragraph about athletes bad choices was not speaking directly about James, Phelps, or Messi, but a generalization of the world of professional athletics. Those guys may be pillars of integrity, I don’t know them.)

** (authors disclaimer #2. I believe with every bit of my understanding of God that He absolutely can restore my son’s body to function… I can’t even write this. Function “normally?” What even is that? Function “like everyone elses?” What would that look like? It’s not the same even in my own family. Function “as God intended?” Who’s to say that Caedmon isn’t functioning exactly as God intended? I can’t. So, what do I believe? I believe in a perfect creator who makes no mistakes. I believe in a God who has a plan for Paul, David, Peter, Rahab, and Solomon all of whom were morally handicapped and He also has a plan for those with physical handicaps. He heals some, he doesn’t heal others but it is all for His Glory. So, I pray. I pray that Caedmon could run and jump. That he could play the sports he so loves. I pray that he will be able to go to the bathroom without our help. At the same time, I pray that he won’t be “normal.”)





Bloody Elbow

7 05 2010

He must have been excited to get in the house because Jackson shot out of the car and hit the ground running. Unfortunately he only got about 3 feet before he tripped and was introduced to the law of gravity. Scrapes on his hands and knees hurt but he was doing OK until he looked at his elbow and saw… blood. As my dear old friend Isaac used to say, “for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction.” He wasn’t thinking about toddlers though. It could be re-written, “for every action there’s a disproportionate over reaction.”

Man, did he cry hard.

He thought he was hurt, but it wasn’t until he saw the effects of his injury that he became truly sad. This is true of us with our mistakes as well.

We will often times make choices that hurt ourselves or others and we fail to realize their implications until we see the “blood.” Maybe it is a heartbroken child, perhaps an unresponsive spouse, or maybe a friend who won’t return our calls. There are countless other scenarios but I think you get the point.

In dealing with addicts, AA refers to this place of finally realizing the “blood” in our lives as “hitting bottom.” For some it is when a spouse walks out. I knew a guy who was fired from his job. For some it may be killing someone in a drunk driving accident. The hope is that someone’s “bottom” is as high as possible. It is tragic to see someone lose everything that is truly important because they can’t see the “blood” that their choices are creating.

David got real close. In the Bible we can read of his adultery with Bathsheba. Unfortunately he could have stopped many times but he failed to see the “blood” and he made the matter much worse. He had others lie for him. He tried to seduce Bathsheba’s husband into compromising his integrity. Finally he had Uriah, her husband, killed. If only he had looked at his elbow!

After his treachery was over, Nathan rebuked David with a swift kick in the pants and David finally saw the “blood.” David’s response was swift and he penned his contrition in Psalm 51. You need to read that before reading on in this post.

Just like Jackson, when David saw the effects of his error he was heart-broken. Truly contrite he begged God to forgive him and redeem his wayward heart. Back in 2 Samuel, you can read of his pleading with God for the life of his child. David knew he had done wrong and that he deserved everything he received. If he had just looked at his elbow sooner!

Have you been there? Has there been a time in your life you wish you could do over? Can you look back and see that there were signs that you missed? That blood was dripping from your elbow but you didn’t realize it?

We all tend to overlook our errors. We justify ourselves to make us feel OK. We gloss over our sin and hope everything will work itself out. We just don’t address it and convince ourselves that “time heals all wounds.” Rubbish.

The truth is that we are so prideful that we believe that we don’t hurt anybody. Sure, others hurt and offend us all the time, but we don’t. Even those that read this and don’t want to admit it… it’s true of you too. We are ego-aholics. Oh that we could see our elbows.

My hope for this post is that we would stop and reflect. That we would ask God, as David did, to search our hearts. That we would stand up to ourselves and reject the lie of our own pride. Can we draw the proverbial line in the sand and leave the delusion of our perfection on the other side? We hurt people. With our words, actions, and passivity. We are not perfect… but no one expects us to be.

The Bible calls David “a man after God’s own heart.” Not because he was perfect, but because of things like Psalm 51. We  can be just like David by acknowledging our frailty, rejecting our arrogance and humbly accepting God’s reconciliation through Christ and actively working to reconciliation with others.

News flash… your elbows bleeding. Go and see the doctor.