Bible, chances, choices, Christian Life, Christianity, cruelty, devotional, emotions, fandom, God, grace, impact, inspirational, Jesus, mercy, motivational, New Testament, Old Testament, opportunity, scars, sin, Starlight Glimmer, The Cutie Re-Mark, Twilight Sparkle, wounds
Inspiration for Today’s Devotional: “The Cutie Re-Mark”
Starlight Glimmer…possibly the greatest villain ever to appear on the show. Cunning, ruthless, demented, powerful, and sadistic…her obsession with revenge and determination to get it not only nearly destroyed the friendship of the Mane Six, but all of Equestria with it. Yet what was the remarkable thing about this episode is all of this hate and desire for vengeance ultimately stemmed from what many think is ultimately a rather minor event: losing her best friend as a child after getting his “Cutie Mark”. In a world where most narratives and stories like giving long, elaborate explanations for why people do the things they do, or at least punctuate it with very poignant and emotional tragedies, this might seem somewhat weak by comparison.
Yet the truth is while life is rich, involved, and has many times for experiences to shape who we are, there are critical moments of seemingly small importance that make all the difference.
The Bible contains numerous examples. Consider in the book of Genesis where Joseph related his dream about his brothers bowing down to him to, who else, his own brothers. That incident was what eventually spurred them to sell him into slavery (Genesis 37).A mere glance from the roof of his house and spotting an attractive woman was what eventually led King David to commit his sins of adultery, the murder of Uriah the Hittite, and eventually the curse of his house to always suffer from warfare (2 Samuel 11:1 – 12:12). And, of course, it was the first man and woman eating and sharing a piece of forbidden fruit that led to consequences for mankind, and creation itself, that ended up being eternal (Genesis 3).
For more modern examples, when I was going through high school I initially thought about being a history teacher. I was doing well in my classes in it, I enjoyed learning about it, and I liked passing it on. One night in the car I mentioned it to my dad. He scoffed at the idea and outright said how he thought it was a waste of a career. Because of that moment, I abandoned any pursuit of history as a career path and ended up becoming a biology major and eventually a computer engineering major. I never thought about it again though it was something I liked a whole lot. Likewise, my oldest sister has never fully trusted me based on one particularly mean prank I played as a child, which she remembers to this day even whenever I forget it, and it gets dragged up every time we get in an argument though it’s been nearly 30 years at this point. In a more bitter case, one relative I know changed their attitude completely toward members of another race due to one small incident that went out of control. It colored everything she saw about them now even if such a bias is dramatically unfair and prejudice. And another family member put up emotional walls and spent most of his life being aggressive and detached due to one single incident as a child; namely calling out an adult on abuse only to have the adult twist it around to make it look like it was his fault. That one incident made him feel the only way to make it in the world would be if you could intimidate everyone else into doing what you wanted, and that’s how he lived for decades afterward until he finally faced up to the truth when this mindset caused him numerous health problems.
A small accident that takes place during a moment of thoughtlessness can nevertheless leave a scar that lasts for a lifetime. This is true not only for physical things but mental, emotional, and spiritual. One moment of cruelty, one sin, or one act of unkindness can warp someone’s outlook on life for decades…perhaps forever. And that outlook can have a cancerous effect of spreading more evil to others through the affected one’s behavior and attitude, which in turn spreads it even further through the actions of those on the receiving end. That’s why the penalty for even one sin is so severe–death and eternal separation from God.
This places quite an amount of pressure on the Christian. It puts the consequences of sin far more into perspective and, if one sin really does hold that much power, it seems to almost create a perfection standard. I’ve thought about this before and, to be honest, there have been times I’ve questioned whether or not the power of God is really greater than sin if one evil has such eternal effects while grace and favor can always be lost at a proverbial snap of the fingers.
Fortunately, there are other moments in the Bible, and in life, as well…
Going back to Joseph, after years in slavery and imprisonment, it was relating the meaning of one dream to a fellow inmate that set off the series of events that eventually caused Joseph’s ascension in Egypt and the migration of the tribe of Israel to that country (Genesis 40-41). It was because Esther went unbidden in the presence of the king of Persia that the Jewish people were saved from genocide and the Feast of Purim occurs to this day (Esther 5-7). It was because a boy packed two fish and five barley loaves with him when he went to hear Jesus’ sermon that over 5,000 were fed (John 6:1-15). It was because Abraham simply trusted the promise of God that a blessing was put on him that lasted for a thousand generations, and which we ourselves enjoy to this day (Genesis 15:1-6).
It’s true that one sin can cause a scarring impact, but one virtue or act of kindness can leave a lasting impact as well. I met my best friend simply because while in college I played a video game theme out loud for passers by to hear. I reconciled with my younger sister after years of resentment because I invited her to an office Christmas party, having no one else to go with. The main reason I clung to my Christianity in my later years now is because back in college I met a man I considered a “true Christian” more than others who invited me, while I was highly unwilling, to one of his services. I still think of him and that group whenever I find myself slipping in faith.
The take-home message for this devotional is the same as in this episode. Twilight Sparkle not only learned one brief moment of hurt could cause the potential destruction of everything, but one new friendship could change a person completely. In the same way, we must be on guard for times in which we might thoughtlessly sin or indulge in a bit of selfishness, spite, or wickedness…for we never know how it might impact someone else; but we must also be watchful for small acts of kindness and opportunities to show the love of God…for we never know how those too might impact others. Both, potentially, for eternity.
In short, always live the Kingdom of God at all times. What you do today is an investment in eternity. Make it a good one.
Suggested Prayer: “Lord God, thank you that every day you give me is a gift from you, and that how I live that day is a gift back to you. Please help me to make the most of each opportunity. Strengthen me to be on guard for any moments of temptation toward cruelty or evil, whether it be a snarky comment, an unkind gesture, a way to “get even”, or simply venting my own frustrations; and help me always to be on the lookout for ways in which I can share the Gospel, whether it be helping someone in need, encouraging someone who is downhearted, comforting one who is sad, standing up for someone who is defenseless, or sharing the Message of Salvation. Gratefully in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”