Fly in the ointment

Faith & Inspiration

My goal is to please God. I think that's an OK goal:

"So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him" (2 Corinthians 5:9).

I know I'm saved, and I know I'm saved by the Blood, but Jesus says that every day we must choose between trying for the praise of men or the praise of God. I want the latter:

"How can you believe when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?" (John 5:44)

Here is my problem: Today I did several things that I think pleased the Lord: I took my mother to the doctor and shopping. I baked lasagna for my kids. I visited a man in a mental hospital. I wrote a letter to an inmate. And I went to a book-signing event to support a writer friend of mine.

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But I spoiled the whole thing by an email I wrote to someone. There was nothing wrong with the content of the email per se; it was the tone-the lack of gentleness. It left a bad taste. This has been bugging me all day. The Bible says:

"Dead flies make the perfumer's ointment give off a stench; so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor" (Ecclesiastes 10:1).

It doesn't seem fair in a way-that a smidgen of sin should outweigh 10 good things, but there you have it. It makes me tremble to think of the power of words.

There is one man I know who has no doubt said many good things in the course of his life, but whenever his name comes to mind, I only remember the one foolish thing he said to me off the cuff years ago. How consequential is the tongue! How full of earnestness and godly grief and indignation and fear and longing and zeal (2 Corinthians 7:11) I am right now. It's all good.

Andrée Seu
Andrée Seu

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.


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