I’ve lost count of how many home improvements show are on television. Every time you turn around another has been added. The premise is they work with a couple to find a new home. Draw up plans to remodel it. Then transform this once ugly property into something amazing. One my wife and I used to watch coined the term ‘demo day.’ It was the first day of the project and entirely devoted to destruction and removal of anything that was being replaced, removed, or repaired. Sledgehammer, jack hammer, and bulldozer are among some of the implements of destruction brought in to accomplish the task. Looks like fun.
Honestly it is fun. Having done, and in the process of doing, remodeling projects on the homes I’ve owned there is something satisfying about taking a hammer and Sawzall to something in your house. To obliterate a wall and leave in a heap on the floor relieves quite a bit of frustration and pent up anger. That’s why people will pay good money to take a sledgehammer to a car.
However, I’ve also learned demo day is generally the easiest day of a project. After that begins the process of putting it back together the way you envision it in your mind. That’s where the work comes in. Quite frankly it can take too much work. The exuberance that was there in the demolition process isn’t there.
Tragically we can apply the same principal to people. If someone has a failing, fault, or sin we are quick to apply the sledgehammer of judgement and Sawzall of character assassination. We hungrily step in and join the crowd shouting crucifying him. A group of men find a woman caught adultery. Get the stones! With the advent of social media we see this increasing at an alarming rate. Someone who righted themselves and advances great causes in the community has a misstep. It’s demo day!
No one wants to do the hard work of restoration. Perhaps it’s because demo day makes us feel better about ourselves. If we can tear them down it masks our own shortcomings. Yet this should never be. Our aim should always be to participate in the hard work of the remodel. Jesus sat in the dirt with the adulterous woman. Met her where she was at and brought restoration. (John 7:53-8:11). At Peter’s worst Jesus sought him out and brought him back to the fold. Imagine where we’d be, where the early church would have been if Jesus never sought out Peter for the tough work of restoration? Just read the opening chapters of Acts and blot out wherever you see his name. You’ll find a huge void in the history of the early church.
We would do well to be less anxious to demo some in need of restoration. We would be modeling Jesus in the way he showed himself to us. Next to him he had every right to leave us in the dust heap. Yet he reached down to us and restored us brand new.
Unplug the Sawzall of character assassination in favor of the grace we’ve all been given.