You’re waiting in line at the market when you look to your left. There it is. The latest in the lives of the f & f (fashionable and famous). You reach to pick it up. Yum! Yum! Nothing like a good slice of juicy gossip! If it wasn’t for other people’s dirt, how boring our lives would be!
Wait a minute! It’s your face and your story on the cover! The shock on your face makes the person waiting behind you wonder, “What in the world?” She looks at the magazine rack, glances back over at you, looks back at the magazine, then quickly grabs a ‘tell all’ of your worst laps in judgment.
You are officially on blast, dirt and all, for all the world to see.
Then you awaken. Whew! It was only a nightmare. Or was it???
So let’s talk dirt. No, not your dirt, but mine.
I’ve got to be kidding, right? No, I actually want to talk to you about dirt, and how it can cover up your true value. You see, I have had to deal with d.i.r.t. my entire life. That’s why I am so glad that God is patient and loving. Over the years, He has slowly revealed one layer of my dirt after another. Cleansing gently as He works, He continues to remove strongholds in my life that keep me from me from being like His Son.
D. I. R. T.
While your value will never change, it can be hidden by poor character, low self-esteem, and negative emotions which we’re going to call ‘dirt’. Today, let’s start with the D’ in D. I. R. T.
D – Damaging behavior – God showed me that even though we are made for His honor and glory, when we live life without thinking about the consequences of our words and actions, we often injure others. When we think that we are better than those around us, we may end up demonstrating damaging behavior. Relationships are fragile. We may damage our relationships, or kill our chances of even having one, by treating others as though they don’t deserve basic respect and love.
Unfortunately, because I didn’t know how loved and valuable to God I really am, I made decisions that damaged my soul (my mind, my will, and my emotions). I found out that when you don’t know and trust God’s Word, you can find yourself living or speaking in a shameful manner that may damage your reputation and witness. In a moment, one thoughtless statement, or one self-absorbed action, may end up injuring those we love or even strangers. And what’s worse, foolish decisions that we make, when we don’t think about or care about consequences, may damage our ability to share God’s love effectively.
I remember when I was in elementary school, I enjoyed ‘socking’ boys on the arm in my class, because in those days boys were taught not to hit girls back. I loved rough-housing with my cousins who were also boys, although they let me get away with more than I should have. Had I been a boy, they probably would have laid me out!
I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but actually I didn’t know that if you hit a boy it would hurt him. When I was little and hit a boy in my class he’d say, “That didn’t hurt!” It became sort of an experiment. So I’d hit him harder and he’d say, “That didn’t hurt!” He convinced me. I was impressed!! So I thought that boys were tougher than girls. In fact, I thought that boys were so tough that they were like an entirely different kind of species. It never dawned on me that they actually felt physical pain like girls. As you can tell, I had no brother at that point in my life! In fact, it wasn’t until I was married, that my thinking changed.
One day, we were walking into the house. My husband teased me, and I responded by punching him hard on the arm. He stopped, turned to me, and simply said, “ I don’t punch on you, don’t punch on me.” That broke me of that habit. It was right then and there that it dawned on me, for the first time in my life, that my rough housing was causing physical pain to someone. It made me sad. That was the last thing I wanted to do.
God really taught me about boys, though, by giving me a son. He changed my heart and tore down those strongholds, wrong beliefs I had, by opening my eyes to just how caring, loving, and fabulous little boys can be. I learned how loyal and forgiving they can be, and what wonderful young men they can grow up to be, if God is in their lives. They can aspire to greatness. And least, that’s what I’ve seen.
What am I saying? I’m saying that God gave me a personal lesson on how to get rid of some damaging behavior in my life, by showing me that my thinking was wrong. He taught me that because I believed incorrectly, I behaved incorrectly. He also transformed my thinking by teaching me, through my own family, that everyone deserved to be treated with respect.
Really, it doesn’t matter how much older or younger I am than those I encounter. God is teaching me that everyone needs to be treated with respect. God considers them precious in His sight. Consequently, how I treat those with whom I live, and those I encounter daily, matters. How I talk to them matters.
Speaking of damaging words, I have to be sooooooo careful about the information I ‘share’ with others. Have you found that it’s tempting to tell some juicy info or to talk about someone who gets on your nerves. Me too. But what if you’re only discussing it with your best friend? Your family? It still counts. But what if you’re talking about politicians or people in the public eye? Does that count? Only if they are people too.
Does spreading a spirit of complaining, grumbling, and being negative about someone count? God is going to hold me accountable for what I choose to say or not say. It’s hard for me to encourage you and complain about you at the same time. If I say whatever I want, about whomever I want, whenever I want, I ruin my chance of shining brightly for Christ. I must use discretion and think before I speak.
A damaging tongue can do much harm. It can cause someone to give up. It can cause a person to exchange their entire lifestyle for something degrading. It can ruin lives. A tongue, unchecked, unguarded, can spew bitterness and hatred and much more. Therefore, even though it may make us feel better to spout off, God tells us to resist and to show mercy.
In other words, He wants me to treat the person about whom I would like to gossip with the same compassion I’d like him or her to show to me. If that means walking away from a conversation, then I must walk away. If that means changing the conversation, then I should try to change it. If it means praying quietly and refusing to take the bait, then our Heavenly Father encourages me to pray and pray again.
It’s easy to see how damaging behavior can heap dirt on your character, so that people don’t see your true worth. But there’s more than the letter ‘D.’ Stay tuned for I. R. and T.
I believe that God wants to share a way to get rid of our dirt.
By the way, I just finished helping my daughter give my 2 month-old grandson a bath. Oh how he hates baths! He takes screaming to another level! And yet he really needed a bath. He was sitting in my daughter’s lap when she called out, “Help!” I ran in to discover that he had ‘decorated’ her pants, and his little body and clothes down to his socks, with bright, sunny-colored yellow ‘goo’ that had her calling out for help. He and his mom needed to be cleaned up!
Okay, so I’m way beyond the diaper stage, but like my little gem in his crib upstairs, I need to call on God to continuously clean the ‘goo’ out of my life by transforming my thinking with his Word. And like my daughter, sometimes ‘d.i.r.t.’ may invade my life, because of who is close to me at the moment. Even when it doesn’t feel great to get a gentle but thorough scrubbing, I know that it’s necessary.
Here are some scriptures that I found to be enlightening:
1 Corinthians 15:33 – 33 Do not be so deceived and misled! Evil companionships (communion, associations) corrupt and deprave good manners and morals and character. AMP
James 3:3-5 3 If we set bits in the horses’ mouths to make them obey us, we can turn their whole bodies about. 4 Likewise, look at the ships: though they are so great and are driven by rough winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the impulse of the helmsman determines. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and it can boast of great things. See how much wood or how great a forest a tiny spark can set ablaze!
Philippians 2:14-15 14 Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining [against God] and questioning and doubting [among yourselves], 15 That you may show yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish (faultless, unrebukable) in the midst of a crooked and wicked generation [spiritually perverted and perverse], among whom you are seen as bright lights (stars or beacons shining out clearly) in the [dark] world
Ephesians 5:4 4 Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; but instead voice your thankfulness [to God].
Mark 11:25 25 And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and [a]let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop.
Below are additional passages to help you on the journey:
James 1:19-26 Galatians 5:16-25 Philippians 2:14-15 Romans 3:23
Ephesians 4:29, 32 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Psalm 119:9
Leviticus 19:11 Zechariah 8:16 2 Timothy 2:16
1 Corinthians 10:13 1 Peter 2:17 1 Peter 3:10
Until next time, remember that the best place for dirt is under your feet! Enjoy the journey!
Question for today – What damaging behavior do you have that God wants to transform with His Word?
© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing
This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it. Come back soon! You don’t want to miss the ‘i’ in d.i.r.t.!