Mixed Messages

Psalm 98:2 The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations.

We were gathered around the table for family dinner for a significant celebration. It was Clara's fifth birthday. As often happens at family gatherings, we began to reminisce and the conversation turned to the subject of how I announced to Scott that we were expecting Clara.

I like to joke that when Scott I wed, he got three for the price of one as he gained not only a wife but also two beautiful daughters that June day in 2004. Naturally, Scott had never had a birth announced to him so I wanted to make his first memorable. His birthday happened along within days of my realizing I was pregnant. This was the perfect moment to announce the gift God had given us both.

After he had unwrapped all his packages, one tiny parcel remained to be opened. As the wrappings fluttered to the floor, a mixture of confusion and disappointment crossed his face. The gift was a set of baby car keys. Our verbal exchange went something like this:

Me: Honey, what did you get for your birthday (grinning ear to ear)?
Scott: I don't know. Some kind of car keys (bears confused expression).
Me: What kind of car keys are they?
Scott: I don't know.
Me: What does it say at the top?
Scott: Baby teether.
Me: Why would I give you baby car keys?
Scott: I don't know.
Me: Because we're having a baby!

Little by little, confusion melted to disbelief. He was going to be a father and this time, he'd start at birth.

Today's reading is 2 Corinthians 11. Once Paul departed Corinth, other teachers came in right behind him and began to teach subtly different messages about Jesus and the gospel than what Paul had taught. Perhaps Paul wasn't clear or maybe the differences were small since they passed unnoticed. Either way, the church at Corinth was slowly allowing the truth to be denigrated with untruth. They had received mixed messages.

When I wrapped up a set of baby car keys, it never occurred to me that Scott wouldn't get "it" immediately. I was operating from my point of reference which included extensive experience with baby gear. Someone who'd probably never graced the doors of Babies R Us found my gift a bit less obvious.

The announcement of Clara's birth, however, is not the only time in my life I've delivered an unclear message.
  • When I ask my kids to put away their laundry while mine remains piled on the dryer...
  • When I lecture my kids about being less selfish and then complain thirty minutes later that my husband won't let me pick the show...
  • When I enjoy the benefits of my husband's unconditional love for me and then make him feel like my love is conditional...

Jesus, You are not unclear. You long to reveal yourself to Your people. If I am to be Your representative, I must make Your love and passion clear in my life. Today, I will free myself of mixed messages, so You can clearly communicate through my life and actions.

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