I recall, and I cannot remember from where and when, a house just like the abandoned, haunted house in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”. You may remember the scene from your own childhood or from a host of other movies. The house stands tall and dark, fading quietly under the sun and the moon. The door hangs slightly ajar; most of the windows have been forced to harbor a few shreds of smudged glass. Any paint has long ago given itself up to the elements, yet there is something about what remains that draws one’s soul to reflection.
It is almost too easy to look metaphorically at the homes around me, wondering what fate lies before them. Even the gentrified apartments next to my home may return at some point to their roots. They emerged from an abandoned hospital, left derelict for almost a decade, with whatever caretaking responsibilities performed by children looking to throw rocks at the few windows still intact. Will the home I live it be abandoned at some point? Will it happen while the inhabitants are still present, unaware that honesty, loyalty, and truth have been abandoned for other pursuits?
The harsh fact is that “a person without self-control is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out.” (Proverbs 25.28) But we do not often like to dwell on this, do we?
As I reflect on the earlier days in my life I can see people and situations from which I chose to walk away. Some were for the safety of my soul, yet so many more were for self-centric reasons – all wrapped in ego, pride, and my unwillingness to see things from any other perspective than my own. I abandoned those relationships and in a sense I abandoned the very values and priorities that I held dear.
It doesn’t have to remain that way. The house became the center of love and family in the movie and we have a similar option. Accepting God’s grace, living in that reality changes everything. God’s love for the “abandoned” is eternal.