It had been a long time since I had seen clothes hanging on a clothesline, but I knew about life on a clothesline.
In America, most of us enjoy electric dryers. The days of hanging out clothes and watching the weather afterward have passed. Yet, I was in Africa, where the practice of allowing the sun to dry clean garments on a line was still widespread. That makes planning around outside conditions all the more critical. A sudden downpour or even a sprinkle can dampen everything.
Some bring sunshine into every encounter. These are the encouragers who find a ray of hope in just about any situation. They prod us with their joyful spirits, reminding us of God’s faithfulness in the past and reminding us to rejoice and give thanks. Some, however, are perpetual complainers. Their presence dampens our spirits and makes us want to give up. They focus only on their problems.
Paul reminds us about the importance of encouragement. Life sometimes feels like being hung out on a clothesline. Our difficulties can remove our filthiness like a clothes washer removes dirt from garments. But we still need restoration, like clothes that must dry before we wear them. We long for the sun to come out and shine on us. Friends can lift and warm us up, helping us feel valuable again. We want these people around us, and we should also hearten others in need.
Those who complain and only focus on their needs are like the rain dampening everything on the line. They have a way of reversing the process of restoration that the washer and sunshine have brought. They continually throw self-pity parties and drive us further down when we are trying to mend. We don’t need to follow their example.
Are you an encourager or a complainer? Do others find hope in your words? Be the person who brings sunshine into others’ lives, not rain.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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Marcellus George is an author and a professor of theology. He and his wife are thankful for their adopted twin sons. He enjoys writing and reflecting on all the things God has done for us in adopting us. You can connect with him on his website, "Lessons From the Adoptive Journey," at https://marcellusgeorge.com.