Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky ... (Philippians 2:15 NIV).Preparation
I'm tired of the ugliness. The financial struggles this year are ugly. The 2012 election cycle promises to be one of the ugliest campaigns in history. Public discourse is punctuated with disrespect and foul language. As news breaks from day to day we are exposed to all manner of creative ugliness. In the last few months I have witnessed ugly weather, ugly moods, ugly situations, ugly architecture, even ugly truths.
Uglyism lives! It appears when we least expect it. Instead of staying just below the surface, it's popping above the surface and hanging around. This week, even with your eyes closed, you will see ugliness. Without trying, you will be exposed to ugly comments, ugly injustices, ugly squabble, ugly arrogance, ugly attitudes, ugly confrontations, and a few ugly messes.
What do you do when faced with ugliness? I see 4 possible options.
- You can run; run as fast as you can.
- Ignore reality and go straight to Denial.
- Condemn the ugliness and talk constantly about how bad it is and how sad it is that we live in this mess.
- Become an agent of transformation.
Hidden somewhere in the middle of ugliness is blessing and beauty, put there by the Creator. He continues to allow ugliness so we can get introduced to new beauty. It's there, unseen, but there.
This is not the time to run. It's time to be the story of blessing, to see the unseen beauty growing wild in this culture of ugliness.
One of the most thought-provoking movies in my DVD collection is "The Green Mile." It's a story of ugliness and pain. Most of the movie is set in a death row prison of the 1930s. In a cell, toward the end of the hall, is an innocent large black man named John Coffey. He has few words to say, but he is the reason for the movie.
They say he committed a brutal crime, but as the story unfolds you learn he is innocent. And, more than that, he has miraculous gifts of healing and prophesy. Just by touching the arm of a fellow inmate, he can see the rapes and murders that the man has committed.
Tom Hanks plays the head guard who finally comes to the truth: John is innocent. He asks John if he wants him to fight to get him off death row.
In a weeping response, Coffey explains:
I's tired, boss. Tired of bein' on the road, lonely as a sparrow in the rain. Tired of not ever having me a buddy to be with, or tell me where we's coming from or going to, or why. Mostly I'm tired of people being ugly to each other. I'm tired of all the pain I feel and hear in the world ever' day. There's too much of it. It's like pieces of glass in my head all the time. Can you understand?
Tom's character did. Do you?
You have a gift, maybe not one of Coffey's gifts, but you have a gift. The God of transformation has given you eyes to see the unseen, to see beauty when all around you is pain and ugliness. You CAN see the good when it's covered in badness, the hope in hopelessness, the healing in pain. There is beauty in the middle of ugliness.
Now, the question: Do you choose to open the gift, or run with the ugly crowd?
For one week, just one week, try seeing the unseen.
Pray for eyes to see beyond the ugliness, to see hope and goodness and beauty. It's a gift from God. Believe it. Live it, for just one week and you will be transformed. Your mind will be renewed. You will become an agent of transformation.
Look for it!