imageI am only one person, but how I choose to live matters.  

Each one of us matters and how we choose to live, indeed to which drummer we march makes a difference.  When I was in high school, SO many years ago, we were required to memorize and recite increasing numbers of lines of poetry.  I cannot remember the exact numbers, but I think it was 100 as sophomores advancing to 200 as seniors.  Needless to say, I have boundless partial poems in my head that manifest themselves like specters.  They are indeed a kind of haunting.  With some prompting I can sometimes remember a whole poem, but usually only snatches of the works.   Some are really difficult to shake, such as “It was the 18th of April in 75, hardly a man is still alive, who remembers that fateful day and year…” (Midnight Ride of Paul Revere)  or “Of all the sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest of these are “it might have been'”(Maud Muller) or “Half a league, half a league, half a league onward” (Battle of the Light Brigade)…So many little ghosts.  

One of those hard to shake poems is  The Horseshoe Nail by George Herbert

For the want of a nail
The shoe is lost

For the want of a shoe
The horse is lost

For the want of a horse
The rider is lost

For the want of a rider
The battle is lost

For the want of a battle
The kingdom is lost

And all for the loss
Of a horse shoe nail

Our action, reaction, or lack of action to the offenses of life have far reaching ripple effects the total scope of which, we may never know.  How I choose to live my life with others, God, family, friends, the checker at Walmart, matters.  The scripture of the day at for yesterday was I Thessalonians 5:15 but I have chosen to expand it for this post:

Now, brothers and sisters, we ask you to appreciate those who work hard among you, who lead you in the Lord and teach you. Respect them with a very special love because of the work they do. Live in peace with each other. We ask you, brothers and sisters, to warn those who do not work. Encourage the people who are afraid. Help those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. Be sure that no one pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to do what is good for each other and for all people. Always be joyful. Pray continually, and give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus. Do not hold back the work of the Holy Spirit. Do not treat prophecy as if it were unimportant. But test everything. Keep what is good, and stay away from everything that is evil. Now may God himself, the God of peace, make you pure, belonging only to him. May your whole self—spirit, soul, and body—be kept safe and without fault when our Lord Jesus Christ comes. You can trust the One who calls you to do that for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-24 NCV)

God calls each of us to live fully and fully love because He loves us.  How you live in relationship to others matters.  How I live in relationship to others matters.  Remember the horseshoe nail.

And Choose how now to live.

In the face of offenses toward me, how I choose to respond MATTERS

Retaliation considered
Revenge intended
Lives upended
Friendships ended
Families untended
Churches splintered
Communities offended
Human earthquakes, famine of spirit,
Wars and rumors of war
Wrong heaped upon wrong unending
To what end?

Forgiveness considered
Kindness intended
Life defended
Friendships unended
Families strengthened
Churches united
Communities enlightened
A peaceable kingdom without and within
Grace for all ages, seasons and times
To what end?

Along with the fragmented hauntings of old poems memorized years ago, are also the scripture texts I have memorized that the Holy Spirit calls to my remembrance just at those moments of choice, when what I do, say, or act will be kind or cutting. Those are the “braking points” in my life, my opportunity to be an agent of destruction or reconciliation. Pause, choose well, today…it matters.