My younger son is at the peak of the developmental phase of toddlerhood that looks like this:
Take all the folded laundry out of the basket.
Unspool all the toilet paper off of the roll.
Dump out all of mom’s makeup and then shake/pour/smear out each individual product.
Pour the Legos out onto the floor. Take several handfuls and throw them into neighboring rooms, just for good measure.
Signal the end of dinner by dumping food off of the high chair tray.
It’s perfectly normal and the sign of a healthy toddler. He likes to take things apart, to knock things down, to undo things. I get it. It’s fun. He’s learning.
It’s also a little bit maddening. It feels like I spend nearly all my waking hours following him around and putting things back together, even as he takes something new apart. It’s good he’s so cute.
I can be patient when I remember that he’ll grow out of it someday. At some point, even toddlers have to stop destroying and start building.
Yet the prevailing winds of our culture are winds that tear down. We pick apart arguments, movements, political parties. We dissect clothing choices, sports plays, albums, voting records. We eviscerate entire movements with little thought. We unfriend people whose opinions differ too vastly from our own.
We seem to always know what wasn’t good enough, right enough, done well enough.
As a student at Wheaton College, I often engaged in a sport my friends and I later coined the “Post Worship Critique.” We’d gather together at lunch in the college’s cafeteria and fillet whatever church service we’d just attended.
Then I became a pastor, and I realized that church is hard. It’s easy to critique a sermon; much harder to write one. It’s simple to nitpick the things about the atmosphere I would have preferred be different; much more difficult to actually craft those things in a new way.
The same is true in every area of our lives.
So my question for you today is this: what are you building?
Maybe it’s a ministry, maybe it’s a family, maybe it’s a sense of neighborliness in your apartment complex or a friendship with a shut-in.
God created us to create. To build, not just tear down.
We can start with relationships. As Paul notes in 1 Thessalonians:
10 Jesus died for us […]11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Before you tear down, check your tongue.
Let’s be builders.
What are you building?