Swallow the bug


Gary drinks a grape juice and quinine water drink every night before he goes to bed and claims it has stopped him from waking up in the middle of the night with leg cramps. Well a few nights ago he noticed a little bug floating in his glass of juice. Instead of losing the whole drink over this, he chose to sip it carefully, avoiding the little bug “until there’s half a teaspoon left. Only then did it get tossed.” Then it dawned on him, “That’s how I came to my compromise in the election choice.” I think he was saying he chose the candidate with the most amount of qualities he could affirm, and had to just disregard what he didn’t like or agree with about that person.

I think it’s a fitting metaphor for what we all did to come up with a candidate we could vote for in this election. It was the best we could do. However it occurs to me that this may work with a political candidate, but don’t try it with a friend, a family member, or even an acquaintance. With such a person, we have to take the whole thing. You can’t separate out what you don’t like about a person you have a relationship with for the purpose of discarding it. You can’t accept just part of a person. If you care for someone, you have to swallow the bug.

This is where grace turned outward is a requirement, because God has had to find a way to love us in spite of our ugliness, our sinfulness and our dysfunctions. He’s extended His grace and mercy to cover all these things, and He did it on the cross. On the cross, He swallowed the bug for the whole human race, and because His grace covers all my sin, I can extend His grace to others. I have to do this. It’s the only way we can all get along, but it’s also the way the message of grace gets out.

Some of Chandler’s friends bug me. I wish I could de-bug them, but I can’t. Only Jesus can do that (and they have to want it), but if I’m going to love them, I have to drink the whole thing; I have to swallow the bug. And if I ever get to thinking I’m somehow above this, I just stop and consider what people have had to swallow to love me.

I have heard, however, that bugs are high in protein.


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11 Responses to Swallow the bug

  1. Mark Seguin says:

    Very good Catch! Thx 4 it Pastor John, appreciate it and u… 🙂

  2. Peter Leenheer says:

    Who to vote for is simple…God’s anointed, not the one we think is anointed. That might require research and prayer. The local media is often one sided, and every side has two stories. The liberal side disagrees with each other but are united against anyone else, christians are divided also but don’t see value in unity and so vote all over the place. God’s anointed is the one to vote for, however that person may not be to our liking. Leaders are sinners and God only has sinners to work with.

    So I would say swallow the bug for everyone not just family members. We’re in a spiritual warfare. We must love our enemies but not let them walk all over us. Be gracious but don’t give up your boundaries. Agree to disagree before ugliness erupts. Let love prevail, and pray for each other always. My praying for people I don’t like gives me peace, because I change. I change because I do not let their personality quirks offend me. Heaven forbid God shows me how I offend others, hence it is better for me to change, because me changing others does not work.

    Grace turns outward for me is to not let people offend me. This does not constitute agreement or compassion to a fault. It keeps me calm and so harnesses the venom that would otherwise most likely come out. Lord keep me filled with your Grace!!!

  3. God’s anointed? No. First, this is NOT a theocracy. Second, how can you possibly think either of the candidates was anointed for the position? I voted for the person I felt was qualified for the position, which is how our system (supposedly) works.

  4. Sandie says:

    Hey John – I totally sympathize with your feelings about some of Chandler’s friends. In 20 years of working with teens in many capacities (longest was in discipline at a high school), there were many kids I just couldn’t stand for one reason or another, and it was easy for me to find fault with them so I could have the satisfaction of nailing their butt to the wall. Conviction hit me hard – a spiritual 2×4 so to speak – and I realized that to keep my integrity and fairness intact, my attitude needed a real adjustment. I slowly taught myself to allow the Holy Spirit to show me the good in them…and it IS there. When I ‘caught’ them doing something right, something positive, I made a point of commending them on whatever it was, no matter how small it may have seemed – all in a quiet, honest way – nothing over the top. Over time, little by little, I developed trusting relationships with them…and yes, I learned to love them and some of them even learned to love me…at the least they developed a strong respect for me. It didn’t mean they stopped doing dumb things, but the frequency decreased, because they desired to hear my honest praise. They took it better when I had to mete out discipline, because I had dealt with them honestly. Like me, you have a unique opportunity to influence these kids and make your home a safe place for them – because there are definite parameters and expectations, as well as affirmation. In many ways giving them what they aren’t receiving at home. Hmm…kind of like what Jesus does for us…
    LOL – I remember digging deep to find praise for one kid I was putting in detention almost daily…I finally hit on thanking him for showing up to my detention on time! It was the beginning of him taking responsibility and learning self – discipline!
    PS. Dr. Phil once said that dealing with teens was like trying to nail Jello to a tree!

  5. Gary says:

    John I could not agree with you more. I gave up a while ago try to change myself, much less anyone else. I’m now giving that to the Lord. This dyeing daily thing for me is key in being a Follower of Jesus. It’s true for me, that put others before me, gives me a feeling of purpose and self worth. It’s kind of a basket weaving theology.

  6. Tim says:

    It sounds easy enough, but…

  7. Tim Logan says:

    My first reaction was why not just take the bug out before you drink ? but as i read your thoughts i see that Christ accepts us just as we are bugs and all thank goodness we do not have to b e perfect to be forgiven God in his mercy accepts us just as we are bugs and all then as we continue to walk with Him daily He begins to change us, will we ever be perfect this side of heaven NO but remember as a dear friend of mine who was also a pastor used to say none of us are perfect only perfectly forgiven.

  8. Sandie says:

    After being married for 47 years (and still going strong!), raising 3 kids to responsible maturity, and experiencing the attendant ups and downs of 64 years on this earth…I’ve swallowed a lot of bugs too…some actually! But, like John said at the end of his devotional – there is a lot of protein in bugs – which constitutes life for us humans. Reminds me of trying to remain in our ‘mountain-top’ experiences forever…not only are there people and their problems down in the valleys…there is also the food and drink (literally and spiritually) that we need to survive!

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