Mindless destruction irritates me.

Which was all well and good until...

Enter Boy.

Boy was born with tendencies that could be written into quotes such as:

  • If you build it tall enough, it will fall.
  • If you play with it long enough, it will break.

The girls in this family learned early on to keep all hair accessories out of his curious and prying fingers.

Fingers that ironically, also have a great deal of artistic ability. Ah, Lord — You and Your mysterious ways.

Enter microwave and coffee mug.

So one day I'm busy doing kitchen things when ten-year-old Boy comes breezing through. "Hi Mom," he says, as he simultaneously jabs the microwave's door opening mechanism. It works as it's designed to — flies open. Straight into my favorite coffee mug, sending it off the counter and onto our Armstrong linoleum. And that linoleum is true to its name. Breaks the handle clean off of my favorite coffee mug. The one my father-in-law gave me with "coffee" written all over it in a multitude of languages.

Mindless destruction — I was irritated. Launched into lecture mode as I picked up the body of what used to be the perfect hot-liquid drinking vessel.

"Son," I said, "was that really necessary? Look at the results of your careless behavior!" I waved the mug in the air for effect. "There's a lesson to be learned here!"

And then in a ridiculously stupid move, I tossed the mug into the kitchen sink.

Enter coffee carafe.

Yup. That mug hit the carafe, practically shattering it. Boy looked at me, eyes WIDE. I looked at Boy, couldn't help but laugh.

"Yes," I said, "there's a lesson to be learned here... it could always be worse."

And it's true — how we react to others, our environment, our circumstances, can always make things worse.

Don't sweat the mug because if you do, it could cost you more than the carafe!
Enter Jesus.

He spoke some of my absolute favorite verses on the Sermon on the Mount found in the Gospel of Matthew — the first book in the New Testament in the Bible. Jesus' words call for love and humility over force and exaction. They give us a template for reacting to the world around us in a way that will not make situations worse.

"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?" (Matthew 6:25 ESV).

In other words, don't sweat the mug because if you do, it could cost you more than the carafe!

"The Lesson of the Coffee Mug" has become part of our family speak.

It could always be worse... because of my reaction!

Enter Epilogue.

I have a new favorite coffee mug.

But, not a new favorite boy.