So I am in the restaurant with my husband and he’s helping me learn the beginning verses of Colossians 3. I am at the 8th verse
But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these:
- and filthy language from your lips.
I learned from a Kenyan woman, Grace Imathieu, about the great “but now’s” of Scripture. I posted this on April 11 if this sounds familiar to you. With thousands in attendance at the World Methodist Conference in Brighton, England in 2000, Grace impressed on me how critical these two words are in Scripture. “But now” alerts us that a change has occurred, that things aren’t the way that they were. Grace said the “but now” frees us from our history. It tells us the past is no longer in effect. It cannot be our judge, or our standard or even our life map anymore because something new has come and changed all the rules. Paul, in Colossians, was referring to our lives after Christ. He says but now Christ has come, the rules have changed and our lives have to show we have been made new. He says, “You used to walk in these ways [the ways of the world], …but now…
Well, I was meditating on these powerful words when I left the restaurant. I left the parking lot and drove up an alley to get to the main road. Halfway down the one-way alley there was a dump truck with a cement mixer bowl in it. The truck was blocking the road. I had no way to get around it or out of the alley. The man saw me and did not pull over into the open area in front of his garage. Instead he got out his hose and power washer, fork lifted the bowl out of the dump truck and proceeded to wash the bowl. I turned off my car engine and dialed 911. I asked if they could send someone of authority to Market and Lincoln as I could not move down the street. They took my information over the phone and said they’d send someone out. I sat there 20 minutes and no one came to move the guy or guide me back out of the alley legally. I re-called the control center and they said the classic, “Someone is on the way.” Ten more minutes went by and the guy had finished his power washing, fork-lifted the cement mixing bowl back into the dump truck and took off. I followed him out of the alley.
I spent the time I had been waiting going over Colossians 3:1-8, repeating over and over again rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Funny how rage was in that list. I think rage was the feeling I was trying to ignore, but it clung to the edges of my being with greater force as the minutes accumulated, but I didn’t get out of my car and I didn’t scratch the guy’s eyes out. I kept the feelings at bay and continued to speak the word, and by doing so the Word came to me. I drove away and was quite calm. THEN the second shoe dropped. I got a call from the police on my cell phone. They had just gotten to Market and Lincoln and there was nothing there. I told them they had waited just long enough to let the guy finish his power washing and drive away. They said to me, “Well, thanks for calling us back!” They hung up before they could hear me say, “I did call back.”
This was a tough one, Dear Readers, but I had to let it go. It’s like, if someone wants to powder her nose and apply mascara at the ATM after she withdraws her money, and keep everyone wanting to use the ATM waiting while she does it, what does one do? And how about when someone checks out 30 grocery items at the 15 items or less register? It’s all the same. Acting foolish pales in the face of a tsunami or starvation or the abuse of a child, and I only have so much energy so I choose to choose my battles carefully.
Trusting in the Lord for grace and wisdom,