At times, all of us are prone to overdo things. Sometimes it may be trying to get people to get up and get moving and get active for the work of God. Other times it may be trying to help them slow down when they’re pushing too fast, too hard. All of us need to keep in mind there is a balance because you can easily overdo anything and make it ineffective.
I got to thinking about this when a friend of mine not long ago did something that I guess is easy to do and more common than I had heard. He got up and put his contact lenses in his eyes and suddenly realized that something was drastically wrong with his focus. In trying to process what maybe had gone wrong, he thought initially that maybe he had bad contact lenses. Then he thought that maybe he was going blind. After a while, he realized what must have happened. He had forgotten to take his contacts out the night before. He put another pair on top of the ones that were already in his eyes. It just didn’t work. The whole world was out of focus and everything was blurry.
He learned an important lesson that you need to be careful not to overdo it. Two sets of contacts in your eyes at the same time do not help the situation one bit. With that thought in mind, there are areas every day, maybe several times in a day, when you need to be careful not to overdo it.
For instance, you need to be careful not to overdo it when it comes to reactions. Actions are important; reactions are important, but overdoing it can be worse than doing nothing. It’s the same kind of thought in the old saying that warns us against overdoing it. Don’t kill flies with a hatchet. You see sometimes when we react or better, overreact; we lose emotional control to the point that while what we are trying to accomplish may be right, it accomplishes nothing.
You see this frequently whether it’s on television or someone in a leadership position overreacting or maybe just someone who is wanting to express their opinion about life or decisions or things that someone wrapped up in a kind of poetic word that said, “When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.” For a lot of people that seems to be a guiding principle of their lives.
Reactionary things can soon be all out of kilter. In fact, Paul calls our attention to this when it comes to disciplining children. He tells dads not to be overbearing. For you see sometimes we become so strong in our discipline about the one mistake that they made that we forget all about the good things that some of these good kids have done. In every area of life, reactions deserve to be processed to some degree and remember don’t overdo it.
Additionally, regulations need to be considered under the same topic. I’m not talking about the laws of the land or the Ten Commandments; I’m talking about some of the day-to-day, routine regulations that may exist in an organization or maybe in a school or maybe even in a church. As a youngster in grade school, I remember sometimes that the teacher would penalize the whole class because of the actions of one kid.
I remember some boys in our class were making noises that the teacher didn’t appreciate. She told them, “One more time and the whole class is going to have to stay in for recess.” You can imagine that she hardly turned her back one time when one of the guys sitting toward the back of the room made a sound that she had no appreciation for, and so the gavel went down and the decree was made that everyone would stay in for recess.
I can understand trying to find out who the kid is and tell him he was going to have to stay in, but there were about 25 of us who had not participated in her being upset but we were all upset because we got to participate in the punishment. Sometimes life’s regulations and the way we go about doing life needs to have a little mercy applied, a little bit of grease applied, to soften up the harshness of making sure that everybody toed the line.
It’s just a thought but don’t overdo it may even apply to our rejoicing. Can you praise the Lord too loud, too long, too exuberantly? Probably not, but you can be over expressive to other people in an inappropriate way to try to force them to join in your joy. You may wonder what I am talking about. In Romans 12:15, the apostle Paul with a word from God and great insight into human needs said to the people of the fellowship of Rome, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”
Oftentimes we get those twisted around. Somebody may be down; they may be hurting. They may be grieving. They may be weeping, and sure enough, someone comes along and says, “You need to put a smile on your face and cheer up so that you’ll be better.” Wait a minute. Paul said when someone is weeping, weep with them. Have sympathy and empathy for what is going on in their lives even if you don’t fully understand it. Rejoice with those who are rejoicing, and weep with those who are weeping.
It’s hard to think of few things that would be less welcome than someone coming along to a person who was crying because of a great hurt in his life and to tell him to cheer up, shape up, wipe the tears away, and start smiling. Not only is it not welcome, it may not even be possible. I would tell you this. That when you are seriously hurting it does help when someone comes along who cares even to the point that it will bring a tinge of joy to your heart. That’s why Peter would write and say, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). What you’re going through He cares about. Your tears, your fears, your great joy and laughter, He cares about it all. He will meet you where you are.
No doubt, Jesus beyond anyone who has ever lived had the right touch to come and speak just at the right moment, the right word of encouragement with the balance that only God Himself could bring. Not to overdo it, but to do the right thing at the right time to be a blessing to others. God help us to walk in His footsteps.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Jim Futral