Photo by Nathan Dumlao
Thought for the Week
I find the butterfly effect intriguing: the idea that the mere flap of a butterfly’s wing in, say, Nebraska could start a chain reaction leading to a tsunami in Sr Lanka. The point being that, with each “wing flap,” i.e. word or deed, we initiate a chain of effects.
Sometimes for good: An old college student of mine, now a well-love pastor and community leader, looked me up. He astonished me by telling me that my class, along with the student dinners my wife and I hosted, had profoundly affected the course of his life.
Sometimes for bad: Another student (different class), his wife informed me, was deeply offended by something I said or did. But I have no idea what it was because he refused to ever speak with me again. Sometimes our wing flaps can’t be reversed.
But sometimes they can.
When I was a teenager, I accidentally swang a golf club back and broke my cousin Larry’s nose. Thirty-two years later, at (ironically) a Thanksgiving dinner, he stunned the family by announcing that he’d never forgiven me. Not for injuring him, but for so quickly excusing my actions (“I didn’t know you were there!”), instead of showing real concern. This, Larry said, was why he found it so hard to believe in God. If I was the product of that God, he wanted nothing to do with Him. The family came to my rescue: “Mitch didn’t mean it!” “It was thirty years ago!”
But God didn’t. He whispered, “Fix this.”
So I begged for Larry’s forgiveness. One long overdue reverse wing flap. I remember the way his eyes searched mine for telltale twitches of insincerity. And then the way they softened. Was it enough? I pray so. Less than a year later, he passed away, and after the funeral his wife told me something I’d said had led Larry to begin believe in God again.
Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (justice).” It concludes with the statement, “And all these things will be added unto you.” Significantly, the original Greek for “added” refers not to rewards, but the results of the actions we take. When that still, small voice whispers to us, “Fix this,” it’s time to…
Reverse our wing flaps.