Two frogs were hopping in a rut in the middle of a road. One frog got tired of being in a rut and jumped out. The liberated frog encouraged his friend to do the same but the frog had learned to tolerate rut-life and said the walls were too high for him to jump out.
All of a sudden a big truck came toward him with its tire in the same rut the forlorn frog was in. The frog jumped out easily. Lesson: Nothing will get you out of a rut quicker than a really good reason to get out. The problem was not that the frog couldn’t or shouldn’t, the frog wouldn’t.
Having been a pastor for many years, I have noted two types of issues that get us humans into ruts. The first issue comes from mistakes that we have made in the past. It was our fault or bad decision we made and we know it. We feel remorse, hurt, embarrassment, shame, guilt and the like for the hurt that we have caused others by our actions.
As a result, we get stuck in the rut of the ‘woulda…shoulda…coulda’s.’ We live our lives wishing we could go back in the past, change what we did or said, and go from there. We want a redo! This is good because it means that we have accepted our part in creating the mess. But the downside is that we tend to keep beating ourselves up for it…over and over again.
The second issue of how we get into ruts comes from what people or institutions have done to us. We feel we are the victim and perhaps we are. But note that when we get stuck in the rut of victimization, we tend to stay there for a long time. We blame, we justify, we act out, we lose control, we lose hope, we are angry or depressed about what happened to us. We nurture our hurt or betrayal again and again. The problem is that we get stuck in the deep rut of the victim. Some even get run over by the truck.
Understand that God doesn’t want us to just cope. God wants us to overcome. How? By applying His grace to our situation. God says His word: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.
All things means all things. That includes our failures, our trespasses, our backsliding, our shame, our past, the hurts done to us by others, everything. God takes everything wrong that was done to us, everything we have done wrong to others and redeems it. What was intended for evil, God uses for our good and the good of others.
What hurts us is not the sin against us. What hurts is the anger, shame, pity, bitterness or betrayal we feel. God deals with the sin part of the hurt first (He forgives us) and then heals the emotional hurt that causes us to relive our hurt time after time again.
Let me personalize this is you. Find a purpose in what happened to you. The worst thing that has happened to you may become your life ministry. God’s grace applied to your life not only touches you for good, but now through you, on a reverse course, God’s amazing grace goes and touches everyone for good who hurt you…or who you hurt.
By receiving God’s grace and allowing everything that has happened to us work for our good and God’s purposes, we close the gates of hell and open the gates of heaven, freeing us and those who hurt us. And guess what, you just jumped out of the rut. I knew you could.
Church-Community Connection is published weekly in 10 newspapers all over the world. Most of these newspapers are local paid subscription newspapers. The goal of these 450 word articles is to build a bridge to the community through humor, wisdom and changing mental perceptions that the community has of the church.