A couple days ago I was out on the deck and as I walked I tripped and stumbled. Now, I am at times a bit of a klutz, but I was pretty sure something had caused me to stumble. I looked, and there was a nail that had worked out a bit and it had caught my foot as I was walking. I went to get a hammer, drove the nail back down and was looking to see if there were more that needed addressed. As I was doing that, I remembered when I was maybe 10 and “helping” my dad with his current carpentry project. I say “helping” as I did because honestly, I was probably far more of a hindrance than a help. But, I digress. As he was driving a nail, he paused, looked at me and said, “You know, sometimes you’re the hammer, sometimes you’re the nail.” Then, he went back to hammering away. I’m sure I was giving him that look that says, “I have no idea what that means.” Because he started explaining that sometimes, you are the one holding things together, sometimes you are the one sticking up in the way, sometimes you are the one that is supposed to fix the nail. Ahhhh, I got it, kind of as best a 10 year old can understand such things. He was pretty smart sometimes, as I look back, I see more and more wisdom in a lot of things he shared like that.
Well, as I was driving nails in the deck, it occurred to me that yup, I sure am the hammer or the nail. I began to reflect on that a bit and got to thinking about the hammer. Yes, sometimes I am, or was, the hammer. As I was trying to be a good dad with my kids I sometimes had to discipline them for things they did, they were the nails, sticking out due to this or that behavior and needed correction. In the military, sometimes a subordinate did something wrong and I had to be the hammer again. Sometimes, I see things that I think are wrong in other’s peoples’ lives and think I need to be the hammer then. Sometimes I just think it, sometimes I have done it. Regardless, as I was reflecting on such I realized something, something at times I knew and still played the hammer, but not every nail is out of place, just because it isn’t flush. I’ve gotten in trouble at home for driving nails flush with wall when a picture was supposed to be hung. By being the hammer I overstepped my bounds, sometimes, like with the picture it was without full knowledge and if I had asked, I would have saved myself some work and trouble. Of course, another thought I had is, if the nail is someone else’s business, maybe I should let them take care of it. Whether I am trying to help or not, sometimes, I shouldn’t have messed with things. Sometimes, I try to tell people things and point out wrong actions. Sometimes, I give advice about situations that don’t involve me. I am trying to hammer someone else’s nail.
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. John 8:7
So, big thing I am getting so far is that I ought not have hammered someone else’s nail, when I had a lot of my own that needed attention. Yeah, sometimes I’m the hammer, but honestly, probably more often am the nail. Sticking up and causing others to stumble. Or, causing myself to stumble.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Matthew 7:3
Yet another time I am told I need to tend to me instead of others. Sometimes, the lessons I need are not the ones I want. But, they are the ones that help me more so, I continue to my struggle to learn.
Now, sometimes when I’m the nail, I do well at it and hold things together. Wish I could say I was always a good nail.
One thought I had about the whole hammer and nail situation is that I am really way better off to be both the hammer and the nail. Finding areas I am sticking up and then driving myself back into my proper place.
Lord, thank you for the lessons, the easy and the sometimes hard to take. I need them all. I praise you and thank you for the growth in my spiritual life. But, I know I’m still in my infancy and have a lot more growing to do. Thank you Jesus for your patience. I pray that you continue to work with me and help me understand how I can better walk with you and serve you. I pray for you to help others in their own walks. I pray you let me remember that I need to hammer my own nails and not those of others. I continue to pray for my family and loved ones that you work with them to draw them closer to you.
Thanks to those reading these posts. I reflect on myself, try to gain a different perspective to better understand my shortcomings. Sometimes, when I step outside of myself and look back, I am not too pleased at what I see. I will keep on with that struggle because, I don’t think it will ever really end. I aint perfect, not even close, wish I thought I was going to be one day, but I know better. I am just going to keep trying to make myself a little better person and Christian every day.