I was on a mission in England and Ireland, and I had a day to spend in the beautiful city of York. What a place! I mean, it’s surrounded by a medieval wall actually and it’s dominated by this cathedral that might be second only to Westminster Abbey in London. There was an unusual scene out in front. There was an artist actually on his knees, and he’s working painstakingly on this chalk drawing on the sidewalk right in front of the cathedral. When I got closer, I looked at it. It was really easy to recognize it. He actually had drawn the Mona Lisa. He had to be working on it all day, and it was really beautifully done. Well, I went inside a restaurant, and while I was there, I saw that the artist had left. Within minutes, this little boy came up, and he intentionally ran over the artwork, stomped back and forth and made footprints all over it. Other kids followed what he had done. They had just trampled all over the work of an artist who had worked very hard on it. I’ll tell you what, it hurts to see someone doing that.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Trampling on a Masterpiece.”
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Ephesians 4:29-30. It says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” God is saying here don’t tear down somebody with your words. Don’t trample them with your words. Why does it bother Him so much? Why does it grieve and break the heart of the Holy Spirit of God? It’s like we can make God cry it sounds like. I mean, what does that?
We have to go back to Ephesians 2:10. It says, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which He prepared in advance for us to do.” So, God is working on this unique masterpiece creation in every person you’ll ever meet. He has a job for them to do. He’s trying to build them up and help them know what that job is. In a world that tears down our worth from every direction, He’s trying to get them to believe they are the workmanship that He created in Christ Jesus. No matter how difficult that person might be, no matter how hard to get along with they might be, no matter how obscured the work of God might be, God is trying to finish a work of art in someone He created. That’s why it hurts Him so much when we trample on one of those masterpieces in progress.
In our angry moments, our impatient moments, our critical moments – listen, have you maybe left some verbal footprints on your son or your daughter, your husband or your wife? Social scientists tell us that our kids need seven positives to come back to zero after they’ve heard just one negative. You know this: we never forget the names that we’re called by a parent (good or bad), or things that we were accused of by a parent. I’m sure you haven’t forgotten those voices as much as we’d like to. Every time you have fired careless words at your husband or your wife when you’re tired, or you want to win or you want to get your way, you’ve been ripping a person God is trying to build.
Maybe it’s time you did something about the footprints that you have left on a masterpiece of God. Maybe it’s time you go back and make it right, and make a commitment to not ever again let your mouth markup the artwork of Almighty God.What about the attacks that the other person doesn’t even hear? Maybe damaging words have been said at work, or at church, among friends, behind their back. You are still trampling on God’s work, marking them up in the eyes of others. We don’t usually do trampling with our feet, we do it with our mouth. I can still visualize those footprints on that artist’s skillful work in front of the cathedral. It was ugly. It’s ugly when you do it to somebody else with your mouth.