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The hammered laverPosted Monday, October 10, 2011, at 8:49 AM
In the Old Testament story concerning the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, one of the pieces built for the tabernacle was a hammered laver. This reportedly was a large basin where those serving in the tabernacle went to cleanse themselves before entering into their service. Above the basin was a highly polished -- hammered -- type of a mirror. I've read that this mirror was meant to show the priests their own reflection so that they would remember who they were as they entered into the Holy Place.
Self-reflection is a good thing. In fact, I think sometimes we need to reflect on our lives and take account of what we've done and where we've been. It's not always painless, but maybe it is -- at least -- therapeutic.
Some may find they've made all the right decisions throughout their lives; that all of the roads they have taken have turned out to be the right ones; that they've left no one hurt, bent or bleeding in their wake.
Others may find that they've done alright; that some of the decisions they've made have been OK and if not, they've learned a lesson or two along the way; that those they have slighted may have been bruised a bit yet not hurt beyond healing and forgiveness.
Still others look at where they've been and what they've done and find that their decisions have been questionable at least and flat out wrong in most instances; that the majority of the roads they've taken have been the wrong roads -- roads that have led to personal disaster and pain; that the paths of their lives are littered with others who have been the victims of broken promises and wasted dreams and a lifetime of miscalculations.
I'd like to think that the first and third options listed above are extreme and that not many of us fit in those categories. I'd think most of us -- except for the perfectionists among us - would feel fairly comfortable if we found we've lived somewhere near or within the second option.
But I know there are those who, on the one hand, feel that their lives have been blessed -- even enchanted -- and that all has gone according to their own plan to achieve their goals.
And I am sure there are those whose lives, as in the third option, have turned out to be a great big mess. Try as they might, they have not been able to gain control of bad habits; have not been able to reign in their emotions or their fears or their demons, and they go on hurting themselves and others while trying desperately to tame the beast their lives have become.
I hope that most of us fit that middle option: that we've done alright; that we've learned from bad choices and turned from bad directions; and that we've repented when we've found ourselves being hurtful to others and that we've received forgiveness and acceptance from those we've slighted.
Have you taken an assessment of your life lately; looked into your own hammered laver?
It may not be painless, but it could at least be therapeutic.
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Bob Stewart is pastor of Union Baptist Church. His long-running column ranges in topic from matters of faith to observations about life in Saline County, politics and the sights to see in travels throughout America.