Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Drowning Turtles

When I was a boy, I spent most of my time outdoors. Fortunately, I grew up in the ranch country of West Texas, so there was plenty of outdoors for me to explore. One fine, fall afternoon, I was walking along and noticed a small box turtle trying to hide from me. As is common with most boys, I picked it up and shook it, to see if there was anything that might come out.

Now don’t think me strange, but I asked it, “What are you doing so far away from water?” The turtle declined to answer me, which reinforces the idea that ‘the thoughts of a turtle are that of a turtle.’ Lest I digress, I will continue with my story…

I was extremely worried about my new friend, and I was certain that the poor turtle would die if it didn’t find water soon. So, I toted him along until I found one of our old stock tanks down in the West Pasture. After ensuring that there were no Union soldiers, Indian war parties, or “Commies” securing the area (I was a ten year old boy, and that’s how a boy plays), I proceeded to say good bye to my dear friend and, with all of my might, tossed him into the middle of the pond. Satisfied that I’d done my good deed for the day, I went about my business of collecting arrow heads and skunk’s teeth.

Only in the years that followed did I learn that box turtles don’t swim, and that they live on dry land. Hence, in my ignorance, I sent an innocent victim to a watery grave.

Sometimes, we do the same thing in our walk with God. Have you ever known someone that, despite their best intentions, completely devastated another person’s life and walked away, pleased that they were serving God? Paul was that man. Or, should I say Saul? Saul was a Christian killer until God saved him and changed his life.

How often do we, as Christians often cause more damage than good, simply because we don’t know any better? Or, even worse, we don’t stop to consider the facts before we act? How often do we catastrophically destroy another person through our own ignorant good intentions? Lest I become preachy, let me conclude with this: Check to make sure the turtle floats BEFORE you toss it into the drink.


Alison said...

Hmmm...a response to this will take some thought. Why'd you have to write a "thinking" post? ...In the meantime, you may take some solace in this:

Alison said...

Well, I've had time to chew on this for a few days. There's such a fine line in this issue and man, does it take the discernment of the Holy Spirit every step of the tightrope.

Too often I'm guilty of truly caring about someone and waiting a long time to lovingly, prayerfully speak the truth into their life, only to sprout chicken feathers and not do it. Other times my self-righteous frustration with someone leads me to blurt out judgment only to regret speaking up soon afterwards.

Is this what you're talking about about, or am I more than off base? (About this, I mean.) hee hee

Travis said...

All too often, we have a tendecy to react to situations rather than prayerfully act. I appreciate your words and conclude that all of us have similar stories. Thank you.