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.

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