In which there is a broken pane of glass

by Craig on April 26, 2011

When I was a kid I had a Juliette. Her name was Laura.

And yes, she had a window.

And yes our families didn’t get along.

And yes there was all the “wherefore art thou” drama.

 

And yes I would throw wood chips up against her bedroom window to get her attention – and she’d tip toe out, and off we’d ride – on our bikes.

But next to the mulch-y wood chip pile were rocks.

I threw one at the window once.

“Really?!” she chided.

Then no more of that.

The rocks, instead of bouncing off, might break through.

And that would attract attention neither of us wanted.

Because I’m thinking that her parents wouldn’t have said, “Oh well it’s shattered, but we can still kinda see through it, and even with that gaping hole, it still blocks the breeze a bit. And it’s kinda pretty all shatter-y and stuff – maybe we’ll keep it as is. Thank you Craig.”

Nuh-uh.

I shatter a piece of the window and the whole pane of glass is useless.

“For whoever keeps the whole law, but falls short in one particular, has become guilty in respect to all of it.” (James 2:10)

Oh.

If I sin just once that’s all it takes.
A perfect God cannot commune with imperfection or else imperfection gets zapped.
I wrote about that here.
It was a sad story for a poor guy with the best of intentions.

The Letter of James was written in the middle of the first century, from Israel. He penned it in a time when there was a thread of Jewish thought that graded sins, lesser to greater.

Those Pharisees we all love to hate?
They were very creative in creating laws.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. (But) these you should have done, without neglecting the others. Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!” (MT 23:23,24)

Those gnats, they always flew in for a drink and forgot to bring their floaties. And they’d drown in the wine. And so you had to strain them out. The Pharisees did that with the Law of Moses. They nitpicked the gnats, and in the process, noshed on the camel – the whole camel.

I think even the people who rejected our Lord as Messiah were still affected by his teaching.

And that’s why, after his death, the Pharisees got eclipsed by rabbis and synagogues.

And they began softening and simplifying Judaism.

Part of this new way ignored every gnat, and only counted the big camels.

Still, there was the teaching of 4 Maccabees, a rabbinical work written right around the time of The Letter of James. It said exactly what he said, “For the transgression of the law, in small things or great is equally unacceptable.”

Lord, I can’t mess up, not one time.
If I do then I don’t have you.
If I don’t have you everything becomes meaningless.
If we don’t have you then good and bad are the same,
and in the end nothing matters at all,

because it all…

ends…

and then there’s nothing.

I heart that there is Something rather than nothing.

There is you.

But I can’t have you if I’ve thrown just one pebble that even chips the pane.

There is no hope,

unless there is Grace.

If I accept your sacrifice on the Cross,

and I live as a living sacrifice to you,
imperfectly, of course imperfectly,
but with my heart toward you,

there is Grace.

And I have.
And I do.
And there is.

Amen.

God Bless.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Rie April 26, 2011 at 10:28 am

Thank you, Craig. I’m fighting a sin in my life right now that I view as small – but funny how it bothers large?

I needed this reminder. Please keep writing.

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Craig April 26, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Rie, I’ve found that although all sins break the pane – they all have different consequences – and some more than others. Overall I think it’s just best to be as sin free as we can – then Grace. Our heart toward him – that’s the thing I think. And I’m out here writing now – so no matter what – it’s not going to stop. I heart writing this stuff. I heart that you read it too. God Bless you.

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Craig April 26, 2011 at 2:26 pm

and Rie – I just prayed for the little sin that bothers big – just wanted to let you know – I heart praying – so thank you for that chance.

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A. April 26, 2011 at 12:46 pm

I like the last nine lines especially, because they show where the hope is, and they spell it out-in simple, Reading Level 1 terms. I need that. Especially helpful…”but with my heart toward You”. Because i often feel like my heart of hearts is in the right place but my actions come out yukky sometimes and make me look like a liar. i am so glad He looks at our heart, even though i know our actions count, too, in their own way.

the picture of broken glass…what a perfect illustration of this issue!

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Craig April 26, 2011 at 2:24 pm

I was hit the other day by reading blogs in this community I heart, of course, that we can’t assume everyone who reads knows the Gospel. I struggled long and hard on this sum up of the Gospel. It is different from some others – especially those who believe it’s ALL faith and NO works. But I’m in James – I can’t deny the works thing. Somehow it counts. I know I step on toes when I say that – but it’s not me – it’s James – and Paul – and Jesus.

And the broken glass analogy – got that in Seminary – I think it’s an old old one – can’t claim originality – except for the Romeo and Juliet angle – that was all me :) God Bless

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A. April 26, 2011 at 2:35 pm

If a guy said he loved a girl, but nothing he did ever showed that he did, the girl would soon dump him-because she would doubt (rightfully) his claim of love for her. I think it is valid that our actions show our love for Christ. Otherwise, our claims to loving Him fall flat…to Him, at the very least, but to others as well.

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Debbie April 27, 2011 at 12:40 am

Beautiful Craig! I, like A, really appreciate the ending here . . .the heart towards God and the grace. I too, I need that grace. God bless you for sharing all you do!

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Craig April 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Deb – have I told you how much I heart that you read me lately – well – I DO. That is all.

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Michelle April 27, 2011 at 2:55 am

I agree with A – we show our love through our actions. We act because we love (or don’t).

Broken windows – my parents’ bedroom window was broken for many years, from a stone I hit with a tennis racquet when I was about 10. They left it until after my daughter was 10, just so they could say “this is what your mother did when she was your age”!

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Craig April 27, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Yes – I knew you were going there about your parents’s window. That’s perfect!! perfect! God Bless you Michelle.

Reply

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