When Hearts Become Stone
…by Chuck Graham
Once at the market, I came upon a clerk gazing proudly at his handiwork…a pyramid made entirely of spice bottles. A boy looked on, oblivious to his mother’s instructions in the art of lime selection.
“…so never get a really firm one. Roger, are you listening?” Roger was not, but nodded anyway. She put a lime onto nearby scales. “Now you try. Don’t forget to squeeze.” Roger sighed. Grabbing a really firm one, he squeezed…extra hard.
The slippery lime rocketed from his hand, striking his mother’s forehead, before crashing into the scales. The impact launched the first lime across the aisle…straight for the pyramid.
What do we value more…things or people?
It was a direct hit. An avalanche of clattering bottles cascaded down onto the concrete floor. “What have you done?” the clerk shouted. The mother grabbed her son and hurried off, leaving the clerk to clean up the mess.
I first shared this story in 2008 and compared the lime to a hardened heart that can create such a mess in life. But now as I recall the events of that day, I realize there’s something more.
As I revisit the “Lime Incident”, I no longer focus on colorful displays or flying fruit. Instead, I see a clerk so outraged that for a moment he valued his creation over people. A pyramid of cold, hard bottles was more important than a mother and child.
“What I Want” vs. “What You Need”.
In my part of the world, an argument rages. It doesn’t consider logic, the feelings of others, or God’s will. Justice is not at issue. Fueled by emotion and personal desire, it’s all about statues.
When asked my position on removing statues of Confederate leaders and soldiers,1 I replied, “Jesus taught there is nothing more important than our relationship with God and with each other. I follow Him. I do not worship statues.”
If a statue creates deep anger in our neighbors, why leave it standing? If a statue brings sweet memories of home to our neighbors, why tear it down? Do we truly love one another?
Many haven’t forgotten Jesus. They pushed Him aside.
For both sides, a statue is more important than a person. Anger follows pride built on selfish desires. They do not see the plight of others or hear their cries. They refuse to seek Jesus. But without Him, who will clean up this mess?
Love your neighbor as yourself. 2 And follow the One who matters.
Take care & be God’s ,
Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa , an international ministry devoted to sharing God’s encouragement and teaching others how to “encourage one another as long as it is called Today!” He is also an author, speaker, teacher, and encourager. Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. You can learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at www.Ciloa.org .
1. For those who may not understand, the Confederacy was the band of states which separated from the Union in 1861, resulting in the deadliest war in United States history.
2. Matthew 22:39
Image of Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson: The Daily Progress.
Image of opposite sides praying together: Reuters/Carlo Allegro