Water rushing from a gutter’s downspout can be a serious problem for a homeowner. The deluge may leave unsightly gouges in a pristine landscape or even trigger structural damage as footers are exposed by erosion. Some choose to ignore the threat and allow the water to flow unimpeded. Others search for a suitable resolution to allow the water safe passage while avoiding potentially expensive repairs.
I visited the homes of my daughters recently to help with water flow issues. Both problems were caused by over-zealous downspouts, and with minimal cost and some physical output we designed and implemented solutions. Interested readers can view the projects at these links:
Mankind has battled soil erosion since the Garden of Eden, but there is another type of erosion just as insidious and destructive. Consider soul erosion. Soul erosion happens internally as we allow negative thought patterns to eat away at our lives. The decay is slow, but the harm is real.
Fixing soul erosion requires planning and effort. Begin with observation to determine which flows of negativity cause our struggles. Once we have identified problem areas we can research, develop an action plan, and focus attention on implementing a solution. Here are two downspouts spewing negativity into our minds.
Grudges have to be nursed and rehearsed to keep them healthy. Is there healing in remembering a hurt and plotting our revenge even if we have no intention of acting? The danger in an unforgiving spirit is that one grudge attracts another. We become adept at finding slights and mistreatments at every turn. Our collection grows, and the crushing weight pushes us into bitterness, mental kudzu that creeps across the landscape of our lives and sucks away the joy.
“See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled…” Hebrews 12:15 NASB
If only I had this. If only I could afford that. An unthankful heart sees only the missing elements. The poster children for complaining have to be the Israelites as they crossed the desert on the journey to the Promised Land. Read their story and make note of the complaints—we’re thirsty, we’re hungry, and we’re sick of the monotonous diet. Aren’t we thankful we aren’t like them?
Amazing is the list of blessings overlooked in this kvetching.
- The privilege of starting a new nation
- Daily manna, as much as was needed
- God’s personal direction through Moses
- God’s presence hovering over the tabernacle
- God’s demonstration of power in the plagues and defeat of Egypt
- God’s law delivered in a spectacular fashion at Mt. Sinai
They were certain God was not proving faithful in caring for the group. Did He notice their complaining? Here’s His take on the matter:
How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who are grumbling against Me? I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel, which they are making against Me. Numbers 14:27 NASB
Besides bitterness and complaining, other negative downspouts clamor for a chance to erode our souls.
Rain happens. So do negative thoughts. It’s how we direct the flow that makes the difference.