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Ed’s Wise Cracks about Cutting Loose to be Footloose

May 1, 2017

I posted something on my website last week. The comments went on and on, mainly from people my age. “Wisdom comes with age. Aha - I don't have wrinkles, I have wise cracks.” Hence the title of this article.
Recently I read this very wise short story by A. P. Bailey.
“Some sailors had been drinking. It was late on a dark night and they wished to return to their ship. They arrived at the place where they had left their rowboat and drew out the oars. They rowed and rowed and seemed to make little progress. Finally, the soberest among them discovered they had never loosened the boat’s rope from the wharf.
"Through this incident, we see a truth. Jesus asked His disciples that they not only row, but also that they cut loose. The reason so many of us have not grown spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually is we have never cut loose from the influence of the world that impedes us from the progress Christ wants us, as His disciples, to have.”
That’s a great thought. Sometimes we tie ourselves to our past. We won’t cut loose to become footloose. Notice I didn’t say we 'can’t' cut loose. Sometimes we get tied to people with negative attitudes. Generally, we become who we hang around with. Sometimes, we get tied to the dock of a focusing on our weaknesses rather than our strengths. This sucks the life out of us, mooring us to the dock of shame and depression. Jesus said, “Don’t just row…untie the rope too. Wisdom: Never confuse action with motion.
If you are moored to the dock of personal limitations, consider this true story from Edgar Chrisemer. “A little boy who loved music was bitterly disappointed because he could neither play nor sing. But Amati, the violin-maker, said, ‘There are many ways of making music. What matters is the song in the heart.’ So, Antonio Stradivarius was encouraged to become the world’s great violin-maker.” He cut loose so he could be footloose.
How about the people you hang around with? Do they have a bad attitude? Are they grim, bleak and dreary? Does their attitude touch you before their message does?
Management consultant Fried Smith points out the two kinds of people in any organization: polluters and purifiers. The polluters are like smokestacks, belching out dirty air all the time. They hate clear skies. No matter how good it gets they find a way to make it gloomy. When the people around them breathe their toxins, they become sicker and sicker.
Purifiers, on the other hand, make everything around them better. It doesn’t matter what kind of rotten atmosphere they encounter. They take in the toxic words of polluters just like everyone else does, but they filter the words before passing them on. What goes in gloomy and negative comes out fresh and clear. Wisdom: Observe how people respond to you and you will know which group you belong to.
How about your past and the mistakes you made… “the ‘woulda,’ ‘coulda,’ ‘shoulda-s.’” It’s hard to untie yourself from that dock. Cut the rope. There’s no future to living in the past. Remember the story about the woman caught in adultery. The accusers quoted the Law, “Stone her.” Jesus replied, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” The accusers all left. Jesus then said to the woman, “I do not condemn you either. Go, and sin no more.”
Word for Today states if you are ashamed of or distracted by past decisions in life, marriage or business, you need to remember this. Those least qualified to condemn you, will. They make a practice of lifting themselves up by bringing other down. Steer clear of modern day Pharisees. Also remember this. The One most qualified to condemn you, won’t. Jesus is here. Forgiveness is here. But we must cut the rope before we start rowing. God not only forgives you by grace but empowers you by grace to go forth and go from.
So, my wise cracks are shouting, “We must cut loose to be unencumbered and footloose.”

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Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
Visit Ed Delph's website at www.nationstrategy.com