This is the time of year when we usually experience ice-like situations. It is not uncommon for a buildup of ice to occur. The challenge that comes is how to get rid of it. There are really only two ways to get rid of a cold, hard block of ice! One way is to pick up an icepick or hammer and smash the thing out of existence. If you have tried that approach, you know it doesn’t work very well. The more you hammer, the more you scatter. And the more you scatter, the bigger the mess. Here is what happens. Instead of getting rid of the ice, you just multiply it all over the place.
The second approach has much better results. Not only will you find it easier, but it really works. In place of the hammer, use heat. When the heat is applied to the ice, it quietly disappears. When that happens, it becomes free-flowing water, which is something quite different. Instead of smashing and scattering the ice, the heat simply melts it all away.
By the way, that was Jesus’ approach at the cross, wasn’t it? The warmest spot in all the world was the area around the cross. God’s love is the great melter of men. It can forgive ‘frozen’ men. Their hard hearts melt in His presence when they understand why Jesus Christ, God’s Son, truly came. He came to redeem mankind from the bondage of sin.
But God’s love is not only meant to be redemptive, it is also meant to be a pattern for all of life. Remember what Jesus said? “Love one another as I have loved you.” If we take His advice, we will have a better opportunity to live together in peace. But in order to demonstrate this love to others, we need God’s help. We can’t do it successfully in our own strength. When we truly seek the Lord, His love can melt away prejudice and hatred. It can restore broken relationships and make enemies into friends. It can warm your life and make you a melter of men when otherwise you might not be motivated to do so.
Are there people you know who are cold and hard? Is there someone who irritates you to the core? What kind of attitude do you have toward such a person? What method will you apply in response to such situations? Will you reach for the hammer or the ice-pick? Why not try the other way – the better way? Use the melting method. Warm them over – win them over – with love!
Rev. Bruce Clark is the pastor of Main Street Church of the Nazarene, 363 Main Street (half a block north of the Main St. Subway Station)