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

Why this scripture encourages me…

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. He makes it clear this is a very serious matter to Him. I had wrapped it in the guise of “rescuing.”

The reason is rooted in my family’s struggle with alcoholism. My mom’s drinking endured throughout our childhoods, until the year I graduated from high school and she joined AA. It determined how we all related to each other. We didn’t know we were being impacted, we were just trying to grow up in an unstable family situation. We were confined by roles which were very rigid, like the chrysalis state of the butterfly.

In this scripture, God showed me that by rushing to the rescue, I was absorbing some of the consequences that were meant for the other person. I was interfering with His teaching process and it was NOT a role that God would give me! He would not want me to make sinning easier, which is what I was doing. I was also interfering with God’s blessing meant for them. God disciplines us because He loves us, in the same way that our parents discipline us in our childhoods. That day I asked the Lord, “What purpose did You create me for if not to rescue them?” I have been humbled and grateful for how He has taught me ever since!

[Note: In my 20-year journey, God has given me deeper insight as to what He was doing here and 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 role my family had given me was not the same thing as God’s purpose for me.]

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Image: original oil painting by Tom Lybeck: A Closer Look

To God alone be all the glory!