Avenge the Mutilated Blankie

pug-801826_640He was only two years old.

A funny little guy who loved to laugh, had the energy of a meerkat, and liked to “show you his moves” by dancing on the coffee table to music videos.

He had a soft, green blankie and if you visited his home, he’d crawl up onto the sofa beside you and assign you a corner. Then he’d sigh and lean into you a little as he showed you how best to rub your corner of the blankie as he rubbed his.

One day he was different. His energy depleted. His dance moves on the lam.

“What’s up buddy?”

“Ask mom.”

So mom, who had recently acquired new friends, new friends who introduced her to some new ways to relax, explained that the little guy was “pouting over baby stuff.”

“Well, he’s two. So, that’s not unexpected. What kind of baby stuff?”

“Look, he was whining because I threw his dad out and I told him to stop whining. When he kept it up, my friend said I should teach him a lesson and so I cut up his blankie and burned it  in the fire pit.”

I still remember his little eyes staring up at me, waiting for me to understand, hoping that someone would avenge his blankie.

She was in sixth grade, chubby, and favored drama and silliness over chores.

I stood in her driveway mediating a shouting match between her and the adults in her world. There were tears, accusations, and name calling – this mostly from the adults. Four of them. Parents and grandparents.

“She’s a little pig.” “She’s a liar.” “She’s painted up like a whore.”

“What started all of this?”

“Her stupid dream, that’s what. Tell the lady. Tell the lady your stupid dream.”

“What are they talking about?”

“They’re having tryouts for American Idol in Providence and I wanted someone to take me.”

“That’s it? You’re upset that a ten-year-old wants to try out for a TV show? She does sing well, you told me she had a solo at school.”

“Look at her! She’s not going to win American Idol. She’s fat and lazy. It’s a stupid dream and she should shut up about it. You know it’s stupid. Tell her. Tell her it’s a stupid dream.”

I remember her eyes, pleading with me to understand, praying someone would avenge her dream.

 

There are a million ways to destroy a soul in this world.

Some ways make the headlines, grab our attention, sparking awareness and action. Other ways lurk in lesser crimes that go unreported. Everyday cruelties erode our tiny souls until we lose sight of shore and fall beneath the relentless waves of unkindness. When we’re drowning, sometimes we take others with us.

This crime of soul killing isn’t limited to thoughtless parents. It’s endemic in our culture. From cradle commentary to comedy to coffin-side conversations, we’ve cultivated a culture of cruelty. It even occurs among the people of God.

The teenage girl snickered with her friends at youth group. “He was just too weird plus I would never date a non-Christian so I gave him a fake phone number. Wait ‘til he calls it and gets the recording that says, “The girl who gave you this number wouldn’t date you if you were the last person on earth.”

The boys sat across the room sizing up the female population without looking directly at them. “Hey, who invited Shelley to youth group? Seriously, look at her. I heard what she did with some of the soccer team. Just don’t talk with her. She won’t last. She’s a drama queen and a skank.”

Several adults huddled in the corner of the fellowship hall sipping coffee from paper cups.

“Someone has to talk to her. That outfit is just over the top.” “Absolutely, it’s inappropriate. I mean, maybe it worked in her country but seriously, she’s here now. Time to assimilate.” “I know. She was trying to say something this morning during service but I couldn’t hear her over the noise of that floral print.” “What’s up with the pastor lately, anyway? Did anyone else struggle to stay awake during the sermon?” “Snooze-fest. Absolute snooze-fest. I heard there’ve been some complaints. Nobody really likes him.”

Whispered smartbombs hidden behind coffee cups and smiles cause as much carnage as scattershot into crowds. Sometimes when I’m standing in a church fellowship hall, I hear the whistle of those bombs dropping around me. The ones I don’t hear are direct hits on my own soul.

Linus Van Pelt: This blanket is a necessity. It keeps me from cracking up. It may be regarded as a spiritual tourniquet. Without it, I’d be nothing, a ship without a rudder. 

We have a weapon against this slaughter. It’s a weapon whose power we underestimate so we leave it in the barracks bunkside when we should always have it holstered on our hips. It’s not newfangled or sexy but it’s dependable, easy to aim, and packs a punch.

The weapon is love as defined and demonstrated by God. Love is the weapon, the remedy, the cure for cruelty. A defense against the renaissance of rude. Read this verse but don’t just read it. Tonight and tomorrow weigh every thought, every word, every stroke of the keyboard against it like a measuring rod:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.” (I Corinthians 13:4-5a)

Let me know how that goes. I did it recently and I was horrified at my own behavior. We are an arrogant, unkind, rude people and we should repent. We have created a society that isn’t safe for gentle people, for wounded spirits, for unguarded souls. This should be the front line of the culture war.

CHURCH COMES OUT AGAINST EVERYDAY CRUELTY.

CHRISTIANS UNITE TO BAN RUDENESS, ARROGANCE, AND UNKIND WORDS.

We should be a people marked by patience, kindness, free from envy and boasting, humble and gentle in action and speech. We aren’t.

But you and I can start the revolution.

Read the verse. Memorize the verse. Spend the next few days living the verse. Let me know how it goes. Living the love of that verse will make us superheroes.

We’ll call our revolution, vengeance of the blankie.

 domino-163522_640What did one domino say to the other? We don’t have to fall.

 


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1 Comment

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  1. Sherry says:

    “vengeance of the blankie” I love it. You are absolutely right, this is no place for the soft hearted but one by one we can change things. I have another verse to add. It is an obscure verse and when I quote it my children cringe, but they understand….oh yes, they understand quite well. The tongue can do more damage than any other body part I know! Awesome post, as expected =) The verse?
    Proverbs 26:18 – 19
    “Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death is one who deceives their neighbor and says, “I was only joking!””