I love that diamonds are made shiny by polishing them with, get this, diamond dust! It’s a great analogy for the way our relationships are so important to our spiritual formation. The thing is, being polished by the hardest substance in the world, even if it is just dust, can’t be comfortable. I know I’m rarely comfortable when I feel the rub, rub, rub of a truth I need to hear.
I wouldn’t technically say I am in a relationship with Donald Miller either, not even on Facebook, but this week his words have been my diamond dust.
Earlier this week I had an email from Miller’s website that offered me a free download of a message he delivered recently with the title, “Let Story Guide You.” It is all about the way God uses so much narrative in the Bible and how he intends for those stories to speak for themselves, to guide our choices and decisions. For example, and this is the one Miller uses, the story of Joseph can lead us to many conclusions about characteristics that make a person successful. The funny thing is, God never gives us Five Principles of Leadership from the Life of Joseph. You know, there is no explanation, just the story.
So, this morning I was using the flat iron on my hair and constructing the perfect conversation with a friend of mine concerning the way I was going to handle her re-entrance into my good graces since her recent moral failure. How I was going to punish her appropriately and then slowly let her be my friend again. Suddenly, a story comes to my mind.
The Prodigal son is one of my favorite parables. But you know who really gets the zinger at the end of that parable? The guy who never left. Dad is all celebrating the son who returned from his spending spree and drunken party life and the older brother is mad. Guess who gets yelled at? Not the Prodigal – he gets forgiveness and grace. The brother gets chastised because the father assumed he would understand his heart of love and compassion since he had never left. The last word of this parable is basically the father saying, “I can’t believe you don’t get this.” (Read the actual English translation here.)
I hate you Donald Miller. You and your big ideas about story!
And, thanks for the polishing today. I think I get it.