Friday, March 16, 2012

My Ultimate Coat? Unfortunately...uh...NO!

I saw this coat advertised on the net recently...You can find details by clicking on the picture! Will I get one? Well, I might have until I found out something very, very important. Here is a picture I took recently with my beloved Panasonic Lumix ZS7 camera which I use for 95% of my photography these days. Do you see that ugly hair-like smudge in the middle of the picture? Well, I thought it was on my lens, so when I saw this, I cleaned the lens. It was then that I found the little hair was not ON my lens, but IN the lens!! Now think about it...a $300 camera rendered almost useless (Okay, at least SERIOUSLY flawed) by a little hair fragment!

Getting it removed may cost as much as a replacement, or at least enough to justify updating a three-year-old camera. (Wait, is that a bad thing? Oops...let me get back on track!) So here's the deal. I take a lot of pictures, and one reason I can do that is that I often carry my camera in my coat pocket. As I researched this problem (that other people seem to have frequently), I found that while the camera is in my pocket it is collecting all manner of dust, lint, and, yes, hair fragments!

When I switch it on, it automatically extends its impressive zoom lens (16x optical from your photo buffs!) which makes it ready to capture reality with stunning clarity. Unfortunately, the extending of the zoom lens tends to suck in all the aforementioned dust, lint and hair fragments!

The spiritual moral of this situation! Small things can mess up bigger things! Up until now, I never notice the collection of filth lurking in my coat pockets. Now I notice!

We don't tend to notice the small things we let collect in our relationships. Look at some marriages. Little comments, sarcasms, criticisms go unanswered. Without even realizing it, couples can slowly arrive at a place with nothing positive is said. Friction, though not noticed at times, slowly wears down the harmony/intimacy that once existed.

Garbage collects and somewhere along the way, in the stress and busyness of life, the negative emotional lint and dust gets sucked into our psyche, messing up the picture of our relationship...pushing us apart. The picture of love we started with is now marred, and though there is still much good in "the picture," our attention is eventually drawn to that ugly hair that is suddenly so noticeable. If not corrected, this situation can make each partner easy prey for looking elsewhere for affirmation/satisfaction like porn, affairs, etc. They may simply opt for mediocrity. This is not the picture of marriage our Father intended for us.

Some couples wisely get busy cleaning the lens of their relationship. Smudge cleaning is NOT done by jumping into blaming each other first. True cleaning should begin with each realizing his or her responsibility in the situation; confessing his/her contribution to the breakdown of communication; and then by each partner renewing his/her commitment to the marriage. It is so easy to jump to the BLAME stage, bypassing the "lens cleaning" we each need to do first. (Did you see the blog post I did yesterday on getting the plank out of your eye, before looking for the speck in someone else's eye?)

The same process occurs between friends, too. Oh, and it also occurs in our relationships with our Father (except He's never at fault!). We dabble in little sins, not realizing the damage they do when we let them get sucked into our lives as habits that mess up the picture of our witness and ministry to others.

So whether it involves your relationship with someone else, or with your Heavenly Father, don't neglect the dust and lint of your own sin. Deal with it! Scripture promises that If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) Nothing cleans the smudges that ruin the pictures of our lives like forgiveness!

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