Edna . . . it was over 30 years ago when I had first met Edna.
Edna was this little old widow that used to go to the church where I was the youth pastor. She was a frisky little old lady with a lot of faith and a lot of energy, and she used to pray for everyone. She carried around this old tattered handkerchief and she would shake it as she prayed. If she was praying for their headache she would shake it by their head. If she was praying for a hurt foot, she would shake it by their foot. I watched her for about 3 months after I went to work at the church, and her hanky seemed to annoy me for some reason. I was young, lacking wisdom and . . . well let’s just say I was young and lacking wisdom. I walked over to Edna and I said something like, “Sister Edna why in the world do you keep shaking that nasty looking old hanky on people, it looks ridiculous”. Taken back, she stood up on her tippy toes, got her nose about one inch from mine and with a tone of anger in her voice said, ”You foolish, foolish young man, don’t you know that there is power and healing through this handkerchief”. And she then turned and whipped away from me. I was trying to follow after her so I could explain theology and doctrine concerning prayer and handkerchiefs to her with my self-impressed bright 20 something mind, when her granddaughter took my arm and pulled me aside.
Her granddaughter explained that Edna was completely deaf well into her teens; she had never heard any sound. Her mother had taken her to a meeting of Aimee Semple McPherson, and they stood in a line for an hour and a half waiting to be prayed for. When Aimee prayed for Edna she had the handkerchief in her palms while she had held Edna’s ears in her hands, and when she said be healed in the name of Jesus, Edna heard the first sounds that she had ever heard. Aimee Semple McPherson asked her can you hear me Edna, she shook her head yes. Aimee, mother and Edna wept, and Aimee handed her the handkerchief and said “keep this always as a reminder of the Lord’s healing power and your faith”. She went on to explain to me that for 60 years Edna has cared for that handkerchief and always used it in prayer for others that God would do for them what He had done for her. She always took special care of it and only took it out to pray for others. Because of her always shaking it, the hem at the edge had come out giving it the tattered look. I was informed that it was her most prized possession. I remembered somehow feeling justified by what I had told Edna, because somehow I felt I could scripturally back it up. Edna never would speak to me after that and avoided contact with me at all cost. The Lord taught me a valuable lesson that has stayed with me all my life. Even while writing this today, I do so with tears falling from my eyes as many lessons are hard learned, and the effects of which we carry for life. It’s too late now but this is one situation on which I wish I had a ”do-over”.
Many times we take our “faith” way too serious. I think many of us (including myself especially) are getting a little too spiritually haughty where we can’t even see others viewpoints without acting all sideways and offended. Those among us who are mature in the Lord need always to take the higher ground and not project our personal thoughts and values over that of other believers less mature than ourselves. We should listen and in maturity teach and guide without offending and spitting out 200 verses to prove the other person wrong. After all they are just trying to seek and find Him too.
The Lord spoke to me and taught me that it does not matter if we are always “scripturally correct”. It does not matter if we can always prove our “point” in the scripture, as long as we are always right . . . WRONG. Edna has been gone for many years now, but let me borrow Edna’s hanky and shake it over our ears so they may be opened and hear what the Lord is saying to his church. I see and hear every single day in life Christian brothers and sisters spending way too much time arguing over unimportant pieces of doctrine and scripture trying to prove their point and prove themselves right.
We say and do things that are hurtful, judgmental, self-righteous and that are morally and spiritually wrong. Yes I said morally. We are not to knowingly offend our brothers and sisters especially the babes in Christ. What does Jesus think about that?
He said in Matthew 18:6, But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
I just learned a lesson over 30 years ago and learned to be careful, think first before I flippantly say something regarding the habits, actions or practices of another believer as not to offend. And if someone does something that offends you; stop take a second, let the Lord speak to your spirit, shake Edna’s imaginary hanky over your heart for healing and forgive. Because I believe that most of the mistakes we make as believers are simply that, just mistakes. Satan wants you to think otherwise. That’s why we get all “spiritual” and “self-righteous” if we feel threatened or offended. Don’t do it . . . Forgive innocent mistakes, even if they are your own. This is the way of Christ.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.