Overzealous beavers have prompted groundskeepers at our local riverfront nature park to make its precious trees less appetizing. To keep the critters from chewing through the trees and felling them, they’ve wrapped fencing wire around trees at ground level. Unless the toothy critters want to acquire badly designed braces, they’re more apt to leave the “wired” trees alone. Protecting vital trees is a good thing, but wrapping barriers of false belief systems around us is not. The problem reminded me of how Robert S. McGee dealt with behaviors of rejection in his book, The Search for Significance (Rapha Publishing, 1985, 1990). The book offers a loving hand of hope to those who are cobbled by the ramifications of feeling rejected by God and others. Common in those negative thought patterns are these contradictory behaviors (p. 281):
*Easily manipulated, shy, silent, passive, prone to superficial relationships (real or virtual as in “Facebook” lurking).*Hypersensitive to criticism and defensive (“nobody understands me”), sarcastic, hostile to those who disagree with them, tend to exaggerate truth to impress people.
Self-pity and discouragement lead in downward spirals until rejection and failure seem inevitable in anything they try. What a sad state to be in! But I’ve seen it, and you probably have, too. McGee’s book attempts to help people find healing by re-aligning their thinking and behavior as a result of embracing Biblical truths, including these (p. 407):
I am deeply loved by God (1 John 4:9-10)I am completely forgiven, and am fully pleasing to God (Romans 5:1).
I am totally accepted by God (Colossians 1:21-22)
I am a new creation, complete in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)
“Embrace” is one of those difficult words. It’s one thing to agree these things are true. It’s another—and painful—thing to overhaul one’s negative thinking patterns to Biblical truth. Yet this is what Paul had in mind when he urged us to “be transformed by the renewing of our mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). (By the way, years ago when memorizing this verse, I remembered the last part—“good, acceptable, perfect”-- as “gap,” a perfect acrostic for how God deals with the “gaps” in my life.)
Until we get these truths “right,” we’re like trees vulnerable to buck-toothed critters. The solution isn’t fence wire, but something far better, crafted by a Heavenly Father who wants only the best for us.