When shards of life slice through our souls and lodge in our hearts, character flaws form and fester around these painful experiences:
- We find ourselves overcompensating with ambition for injuries to self-esteem suffered in childhood.
- We grow suspicious and cynical because of abandonment suffered from disloyal relationships.
- Negative experiences with churches, employers, or organizations sully our trust in systems.
- The loss of loved ones hobbles our will to live.
These are but a few of the host of traumas that we humans might suffer.
In time, rejection follows:
- We reject living because of our loss.
- We reject ourselves because of our shame.
- Others reject us because of our flaws.
We cry for healing, and then God takes out his tweezers.
If you’ve ever had even a tiny splinter removed, you know how painful it is to have someone dig around in the infection. The temptation to leave the shard alone is great.
Yet, throughout my life, I’ve noticed a pattern—criticism from others often helps me to see the character flaws that formed around my losses—ways I’ve compensated for my injuries. Yes, what’s wrong with me is often clearer to others than it is to me. Character flaws then help me to identify the wound.
When do you know you are ready to undergo this process of having God remove the shard? When the pain becomes greater than the pleasure of whatever you use to dull your pain.
I don’t know about you, but I would rather be a person who holds the hand of someone going through the extraction than a critic who causes more injury. It’s easy to point out the flaws, but messengers of God’s grace look beyond the obvious. They acknowledge the wound and provide support while God does the extraction.