Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Right Side Out

"And as for you, brothers, 
never tire of doing what is right."
 2 Thessalonians 3: 13

It was Sunday evening. My family straightened up the house, transforming it from its weekend chaos to its weekday cleanliness (or some semblance thereof). As I sailed past the living room, my hands full of wayward dishes and newspapers, I noticed the afghan was folded across the back of the couch—which was a nice surprise. Yet there was something displeasing about the effect.  Then I realized the afghan was wrong side out.
     "Who folded this?" I asked.
     "I did," said 13-year-old Laurel.
     "It's wrong side out."
     "I didn't know there was a right and wrong side."
     I pointed out the subtle difference in the fabric weave. "There's a right and a wrong side to everything." 
     I sounded almost . . . eloquent.  Who knew?
     Laurel went back to her chores, I refolded the afghan, and that was that.
     Or so I thought.
     Later, Laurel showed me her history homework. I brought to her attention some spelling and fact errors.  She didn't like the idea of doing it over but I reminded her that just good enough is never good enough...
     There's a right and a wrong side to everything.
          The next morning, 17-year-old Carson pulled out of the driveway to take Laurel and himself to school. I noticed he made Laurel sit in the backseat. Obviously, he was embarrassed by her little sister status. After school I brought to his attention how a good deed can become tarnished by rudeness...

     There's a right and a wrong side to everything.
   Emily—who at twenty lived on her own—called to complain that her boss didn't give her enough to do. Yet in the next breath, she mentioned she hadn't finished a particularly tedious task she'd been assigned.  I pointed out that one task undone might affect the task yet to come...
     There's a right and a wrong side to everything.
     Being so wise was exhausting and I still had some work of my own to do. And . . . my daily Bible reading which I’d managed to put off all day.
     I opened the Good Book and began, but . . . my mind wandered. 

     I only had so much brainpower left, and I still had some writing to do.  Surely God would understand if I skipped the Bible reading and got my work done. Surely it would be all right to skip it just this once.
     While I argued with myself, I happened to read Genesis 4: 7: If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.
     Well then.
     As He is so adept at doing, God brought to my attention that doing the right thing was always the right thing to do—and my relationship with Him was more important than my work for Him . . .
     There's a right and a wrong side to everything.
     The afghan's lesson was following us around, stalking us. Our chores, school, work, and even God, were affected by our choosing the right or the wrong side of life to put on display. 
     Some choices were easy.  But some distinctions between right and wrong were subtle and needed to be brought to our attention by the One who wanted us to be the best we could be. 
      Appeasing that afghan continues to be a constant struggle. It's tough learning to live our lives with the right side out. 
      But the results can be very pleasing.
     To us, to each other, and to God.