By Paula Wheeler
Remember when you were young and your mom dressed you like your younger and/or older sister? Then when you got into elementary school you would actually plan days where you and your bestie would dress in the same exact outfit. You would plan everything down to the socks and earrings that you would wear. I hadn’t thought about this until recently when my 4th grade daughter came home and went tearing through her closet looking for THAT shirt, THAT skirt and THOSE socks all so she and her friend could dress a like the next day. She even had a note to remind her of what they had planned. Now, let me mention – THEY WEAR UNIFORMS, for goodness sake – this couldn’t be THAT difficult?! Anyways, they showed up to school in the same exact outfit. I am sure it will happen many more times for her and her friends to plan times when they dress alike.
Then something changes. To tell you the truth, I don’t recall it changing, it just did. The change I am talking about is when it’s not so cool to dress like someone else or have someone else dress like you anymore. It’s almost offensive that someone else would have the same shirt on as you or the same way cute skirt that you were sure that you would be the only person in the world, with such a great fashion sense, to have purchased it. But they do, and you got mad or irritated at the situation. Oh, but the worst was homecoming or prom dresses. It’s just a detriment to a young girl that this would happen to and the social devastation – you couldn’t even imagine!
Actually, I can’t imagine – times change and so do the things that matter. You grow up and things like that don’t seem to matter anymore. It eventually comes down to who got the best deal on the item more than anything. AND we grow into wives and moms and we are more concerned about kids homework, sporting events, what’s for dinner, getting to church on time, and the list can go on and on.
Now let’s think about sin. Sometimes we think it to be very much hidden or in other cases it can be very much exposed. Reflect on the last time that you witnessed someone else commit a sin. It can be ugly or offensive and most defiantly a devastating experience. If we were all honest we might wonder why that person could struggle with that particular sin and might think that they should “know better”.
Have you ever seen a sin that you struggle with in your own life on someone else? Let’s take the sin of bitterness. Have you seen “your outfit” of bitterness on someone else? Oh my – now that’s UGLY! “Well, sweet heart, how do you think it looks on you?” says Paula to herself. A few years ago I went to a ladies retreat with our church and the speaker was talking about bitterness. Going into the study I had told myself “This will not apply to me and hopefully I can keep my eyes open through the whole thing”. Was I in for a surprise? God dealt directly with me on the bitterness that I had lied to myself and told myself was something different. At the end of the day, sin is sin – no matter what you call it and in this situation no matter what I called it, it was still just the ugly, nasty, devastating bitterness. It’s one of those sins that creep in and if we don’t allow the Holy Spirit to deal with it, it just becomes bigger and bigger until we are consumed with it and don’t even realize just how big the problem has become. We can say that we don’t realize it’s there, but in reality we just choose to rename bitterness as something else. Proverbs 14:10 says “Each heart knows its own bitterness and NO ONE else can share its joy.” WOW – truth will prevail! I have been around bitter people and that verse is exactly right – NO ONE can share in it’s joy!
What if we allowed the scriptures to direct our path and follow what Ephesians 4:30-32 tells us “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as Christ forgave you.” Let’s get the best deal we can find and dress like our Savior. Today let’s put on the fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22 “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.”
Do you have an “outfit” on that you see someone else wearing? Are you pleased to see that others have the same fruits of the Spirit or are you seeing someone else wear that disgraceful “bargain bin” sin that you wear but would rather take it “off”. There are some things in our closets that are still in good enough condition that we can donate to a second hand store but then there are those things that NO ONE should ever wear again and should be burned. Bitterness will NEVER come back into style and NO ONE should ever attempt to try it on for size.