In Plain Sight

On the staircase in our home is a broken baluster, which is the vertical wooden pole between the railing and the staircase. It’s been broken since we moved in three years ago. Sometimes when guests come over they accidentally bump it. They apologize and we apologize. When young children come over, sometimes their little hands find it and play with it. If you put it in just the right position, you can’t tell that it’s broken. But if it’s bumped ever so slightly, the top part swings free, and it becomes an eyesore. It’s absolutely useless in its job of holding up the railing.
Not being handy, neither I nor my husband have attempted to fix it. We just gingerly put it back in place when it’s knocked. Someday, I hope to replace the broken baluster. As of yet, I haven’t made any attempts to do so.
There are issues in my life like that. I know they’re there. When other people brush up against them, they can tell too. But if I arrange my demeanor just right, you might not be able to tell. They’re there though. And the issues are worse than useless; they’re actually harmful.
One such issue I have become aware of lately is my highly critical nature. I am impatient with imperfection. Instead of seeing the good in something, I see the negative. I quickly spot ways I think improvements can be made, and then become stuck with disappointment or disdain for the less-than-ideal. And the worst part is that often, instead of giving people the benefit of the doubt, I’m suspicious. Or judgmental. Or angry. 
In the recent past, the Lord has been gracious to show me the depth of my sin. I realized the hideousness of speaking respectfully to someone’s face, only to be judgmental of them afterward. But what do I need to do to fix this broken part of me? Being aware is the first step, and repentance comes next. I am in the process of surrendering my judgmental nature to the Lord, continually, day by day. Like the Psalmist, I am appealing for Him to transform my mind and my heart.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
My critical nature comes out more vehemently when difficulty arises for myself or my family. I have noticed that in hardship, or even small trials, I am quicker to find fault. As I submit my desire for the renewal of my mind and heart to the Lord, I have realized that I also need to accept this broken world as it is. There is no corner of this world in which I’ll find perfection and satisfaction. I can turn to Christ to find both, and I pray you will too.


Meredith Kohlbrenner and her family have been members since 2017 and serve as Kids’ Club teachers at GRC.