Written by Dave Lenehan
We might call it a pebble, a piece of dirt, a thorn or a pine needle. The Aussies – at least according to former Newsboy frontman Peter Furler – call it a “bindi.” It is a tiny, sharp-needled seed usually found on the beach in Australia. Used as slang, the word means that little pointy, prickly thing that sometimes gets stuck in our foot walking on the beach or in our shoe just walking around the neighborhood. And while its actual size is usually small, it feels like a 6-inch thick arrow tip with spikes sticking out of it. No matter how much you might move your foot around or adjust your sock, it doesn’t go away. That bindi stays there until you stop, remove your footwear and pluck it out.
Have you ever started a sentence with, “I’m not complaining, but_____” or “I’m not putting this person down, but_____.” No matter how we try to couch it, that type of conversation usually DOES involve a complaint or saying something not so nice about someone. More times than I would like to admit, I’ve treated people like that, like a bindi. Rarely to their face, of course – that would be rude. But I’ve treated something about them, how they ‘operate’ or what their opinion is about something that is the opposite opinion of mine like it was an annoying thorn in my foot. Not Christ-like at all.
Now I’m not going to go so far as Jesus put it once to suggest, “if your right eye offends you, pluck it out!” He certainly had the right idea, of course. If something about me isn’t right…fix it!
“And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell…” (Mark 9:47, NIV)
Jesus clearly spoke about the significance of repairing a relationship even if that has to happen on our way to worship.
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24)
Literally, if I’m on my way to church and I have a beef or an issue with someone close to me, I need to go to him or her first and settle it. It’s something in my life that’s bothering me…it’s not settled, it’s not resolved and no matter how much I try to deny it, that argument or problem or offense is still there…before and after the worship service. I must settle it so that I (and the other party involved) can come back and truly worship, unhindered – being able to give my all to God. If I don’t, that offense stays in place and my heart cannot be truly dialed in to worshipping and honoring God fully.
Don’t lose sight of who those verses in Matthew are talking about. Even though it says, “your brother or sister has something against you,” it’s more often than not referring to a problem that I caused that has made someone at odds with me…not the other way around. I need to own up to it, confess it and make it right. Matthew 5 ends with Jesus’ perspective on all of this:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”(Matthew 5:43-48, NIV)
Challenge accepted – no more bindies.