Scripture encouragement: Matthew 18:5-6

“Butterfly Wings”

I love them so I rescue them,
but is this what God intends?
Or is struggling part of learning,
to center our lives on Him?

The butterfly offers us insight,
of the transformation struggle brings,
earth-bound bodies, encased and still
gain beautiful, fluttering wings!

©Poem by Robin Lybeck

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

Matthew 18:5-6

God’s direct encouragement to me through this scripture…

This may seem like an unusual passage to be encouraged by yet it has become a foundational scripture for me. When my pastor preached a sermon on it, Jesus shined a light straight to my soul about something that had been troubling me for a long time. His sermon helped me realize that I had been doing the very thing He warns so strongly against doing—causing one of His precious ones to sin. At the very least, I had made it easier for them to sin. I had wrapped it in the guise that I was helping them.

The reason is rooted in my family’s struggle with alcoholism. My mom’s drinking began before we were born and endured throughout our childhoods. The year I graduated from high school is the year she found—and embraced—Alcoholics Anonymous. Her drinking was the lense we looked through to relate to each other. We didn’t understand how we were being impacted. We were just children growing up in an unstable family situation. We each played a role to protect her. The roles were rigid, like the chrysalis state of the butterfly. My role was the rescuer.

In this scripture, God showed me that by rushing in to help my siblings when they made a poor decision, one that brought trouble, I was absorbing some of the consequences that were meant for them. In truth, I was interfering with His teaching process which takes place when He disciplines us. This is NOT a role God would give to anyone. He wants everyone to follow Him. By interfering I was also preventing Him from blessing them as a relationship between them grew. They needed to rely upon Him, not me.

This scripture gave me awareness that God disciplines us because He loves us and we are not to interfere with Him. That day I asked the Lord to help me relinquish my family role of rescuer and follow Him. I have been humbled and grateful for how He has disciplined and taught me ever since!

[Note: In my 20+ year journey, God has given me deeper insight as to what He was teaching me through this scripture. I will share more about what He has revealed in later posts. But for now, I want to be true to what I understood at the time: the rescuing role my family had assigned to me did not honor and respect God’s will and ways.]

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Image: original oil painting by Tom Lybeck: Coppers

To God alone be all the glory!