Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Slump Called Summer - Martin Wiles

Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 NLT

The slump had hit.

Some slumps I enjoy. Such as the one I get to experience from the last of May until the first week in August. We teachers call this our summer break. The one we need after slaving with kids for nine months, trying to impart knowledge and skills they’ll need in life. Dealing with paperwork and grading an unending string of papers. The slump allows us to put all this aside and slump in our recliners … or on a cruise ship … or in a mountain cabin … or in a pool … or at the beach. But even this slump bores me after a few weeks, and I’m ready to return to the grind.

Other slumps I don’t enjoy. When I pastored churches full time, I hated summer slumps. Since the churches were smaller membership, a few families going on vacation significantly decreased the size of our congregation. And with more people vacating, the church also faced the giving slump. Same bills. Less money.

As a writer who works hard to build his social media platform, I too feel the effects of the summer slump. Fewer website visits, fewer friend requests, fewer likes.

My wife sells avidly on Facebook and eBay. Summer slumps hit her too. People busy themselves saving for or spending money on vacations, not buying the goods she tries to sell to help us make ends meet.

While some summer slumps are enjoyable, others God doesn’t plan for us to get caught up in. Paul names them.

Summer isn’t a time to skimp on kindness—although it sometimes happens. Long stretches of hot weather tend to make people irritable. The patience fuses get shorter. Fights break our easier. Curse words fly faster. God wants us to give kindness year-round, not just nine months out of the year.

Forgiveness should never slump. God never stops forgiving, regardless of how many times we mess up. He never says, “Oops, it’s summer. No forgiveness for three months.” Sometimes, I need more forgiveness in summer than during the remainder of the year. The old adage is true: “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” Even in the down months, I try to stay busy.

Slumps are sometimes needed—and can be good for emotional, physical, and spiritual strength—but don’t slump on kindness and forgiveness. They are always needed.

Prayer: Father, whatever we slump from, let it never be kindness and forgiveness.

Tweetable: Are you slumping?

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