I reach out to fellow detail-watchers. We are those who use logic and evidence as our weapon of choice. We own our rightness. All of the “but you said…” and defensive typecasting too often fill our homes and hearts with hurtful vindication.
We stop listening because we know we are right (or at least correct).
“Hoping that you’ll now see the whole picture as well as you’ve seen some of the details.”
—2 Corinthians 1:14 MSG
Do we miss the forest for the trees? What is this “whole picture” that Paul writes about in 2 Corinthians? God’s grace (vs 12) is that whole picture; God’s grace transforms a struggling detail watcher.
I was reminded of this verse when we neutered our cat Jiffy. And I say “we” because the surgery took place in our toy room and I helped WAY too much. Certain things are cheaper in Africa—like in-home vet procedures for your cat. It’s not worth the discount! Jiffy was awake; his eyes accusing me during the surgery. He knew I was to blame.
Immediately afterward, Jiffy
ran waddled away from home as quickly as his pained body allowed him. I missed him so much. I left out food and milk, but he didn’t care.
Jiffy stopped trusting me, because of this painful experience. He hadn’t grasped my heart’s intent when he ran away. He understood his pain and his rights, but he couldn’t see the whole picture.
On day four, our cat returned. I like to think he missed me, but more likely he missed the food. Maybe he realized what a good gig he was giving up by holding a grudge. Me, too. Jiffy helped me remember past grudges that cost me sacred relationships. Grudges steal peace and intimacy, causing us to be self- reliant, like a cat hiding his wounds.
When life strikes, do I understand the whole picture of grace or just see a painful detail? Do I “know in part” and by taking up offenses, miss the big grace story because of my hurt? Taking up offenses creates room for anger to swell, anger at other people and at ourselves.
I often pray for God to provide me with that big-picture vision of grace. I ask for eyes to see beyond the hurt, beyond the COVID, beyond the rude remarks. I ask that my eyes see God’s grace.
To my fellow detail-watchers, are we choosing to be right instead of having a right spirit? Are we winning personal battles or sharing a cup of understanding with a friend? Are we making the details of a story more crucial than the love that binds our pages together? Are we like Jiffy, focusing on the hurt or do we see the whole picture as a story of love?
Right now, in our messy struggles, I invite you to pray with me, “Lord, show me the grace picture in the pain”.