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Did you have to do archery back in middle school? I don’t think schools are allowed to do it anymore, but it was one of the units we did. There I was, a scrawny middle schooler, trying to pull back a bow string and get the arrow to fly straight.
It was hard! Hitting that big target at all was a feat, let alone trying to get it into one of the inner rings.
Now, looking back, I can only imagine that those middle school arrows weren’t the straightest to begin with and probably more than one had missing fletching (that’s the technical term for those feather things on the back of the arrow — I had to look it up!). Shooting an arrow is difficult on it’s own — shooting straight with a broken one is darn near impossible.
I got to thinking about all this arrow stuff because I was listening to a song by Daughtry called Broken Arrows. A song that likens our lives to broken arrows: that try as we might, since we are all shooting with broken arrows we miss the mark more often than not.
I love this image.
For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.Romans 3:22b-24
You see, when I was learning to be a pastor I was taught that “sin” is a lot about “missing the mark.” That God has these ideas and standards that we, as disciples, are called to reach for, but we often (if not always?) miss the mark.
And that is because we are shooting with broken arrows! Sure, we are made in God’s image and so those fletchings have beautiful colors and we have the potential to soar far and high. But we are all broken in some way. And so we miss the mark.
And this is true for each and every one of us. We are all shooting with broken arrows. There isn’t a one of us out there in the world that hits the mark each and every time. It doesn’t mean that we don’t try: we pick the most beautiful of our arrows, we notch it as best we are able, we use all our might to pull the bowstring back, we sight it — and then we let it fly. And we often miss those inner circles — or the target all together.
So, this means that we give each other the benefit of the doubt. That we realize we are all giving it our best shot… but since we all have broken arrows, well… it is just our best shot. And since God has poured grace over us nonetheless, we pour out that grace towards others.
Please remember that I am still looking for your favorite THursdayTHoughts from over the years. Just email something like “the one about the sharpies” to firstname.lastname@example.org.