Angry tears threaten to fall as you sink into a plush, velvety chair in the foyer of a small church. The words spoken by the pastor, who is supposed to lead you, have wounded you deeply. You know that you’re not athletic; in fact, ninety-nine percent of the time, you are an awkward, pimple face teenage girl who is still trying to learn to control the raging hormones. The four words that he slung at you, so simple, so easy to do, tear deeply at your very being.
“Get out of band.”
That wasn’t the worst part though. As you sit there, watching, listening, he turns to another pimply-faced teen and tells him six words that threaten to end your world.
“Join wrestling. It’s good for you.”
Numbly with those ten words racing through your mind, you have to wonder what the difference is between band and wrestling. There are quite a few. For one thing, it is only during the springtime, when band is a sit down occasion.
During the autumn, you work just as hard as any team. You marinate in sweat. Suffer with first and second-degree sunburns. Injuries are a way of life on the marching field, until you learn to start stretching. That doesn’t even begin to include the torments of the metronome named “Dr. Beat” and his friend “The Lone Ranger.”
Trembling fingers fumble through onionskin pages of your Bible. There has to be comfort somewhere in there to ease the heartache. It’s odd, really, to think that your pastor would say one thing to your face, and then something very different behind it. Didn’t sports take up just as much time as band—if not more? Your fingers cause the pages to rustle and flutter around until everything stops.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
Maybe some people didn’t understand that despite your uncoordinated moments and the occasional awkward pauses in conversation, in band, you’re not gangly or socially inept—you’re part of a family.
In reality, it shouldn’t matter what group you hang out with because in the family of God, what is meant to happen is that your family is supposed to uplift you.
In Ephesians 4:29, Paul admonishes other believers to be careful of what comes out of their mouths. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” In addition, James warns believers of what can and will happen when words go awry. “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body.”
Sadly, I have seen people, young and old alike, who have been hung over a fire because of a misplaced word. I look around the church today and see the crippled runners. We’re supposed to be running towards the same goal, instead of trying to beat each other to the prize. We need to help each other out. So, keep running the race, but don’t be afraid to bend down and help someone along the way.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (NIV)
Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
James 3:6 (NIV)
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