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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jim Baldwin

Hunkered Down Homilies – Puzzle

We had another one of those “hunkered down” days recently as a strong line of thunderstorms kicked off tornado warnings all around the area. Since it looked like we would be indoors for the day, ENan and I brought out a puzzle we had stuffed under the bed. This puzzle is a doozy! It has 1000 pieces (according to the box) and many of them are deep, deep blue with no distinguishing splashes of color.

We started where we always start with puzzles. We separated out the border pieces. We grouped the pieces with like colors together. We started at opposite ends of the puzzle, and every now and then, we would change chairs just to get a different perspective. And, at all times, we kept the box lid in front of us as a reference point so we could see what the finished product would look like.

These same puzzle strategies can help us make sense out of dark histories and confusing dynamics with family members, friends, work colleagues or church folks as well. It is important to establish some boundaries so that neither party has unrealistic expectations. It is good to start conversations with things you have in common in order to find some common ground. It really helps to put yourself in the seat of the other person and to try to see issues from their perspective. And it is always a good idea to have a vision for what you want the relationship to be.

The Bible is full of instructions for how to relate to one another in healthy, constructive ways. It also reveals what a strong family should look like and what a healthy church should look like. God’s desire is for His people to live in harmony with one another. He says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18) I like the fact that this verse has several disclaimers built in. “If possible.” “As far as it depends on you.” Let’s face it, some people are difficult to make connections with. Others have dropped out of the picture altogether. Others simply haven’t found their place yet. Our task is to keep working to fulfill God’s vision for His people.

YOU are an important piece of God’s beautiful handiwork.

-Dr. Jim Baldwin

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