I wonder what a private investigator or special agent would deduce from looking around my house. (Heaven forbid we should ever need one, of course.) A sock in the kitchen sink? Blue glitter on the fireplace? Band-aids on a lamp? Hardly what you'd call obvious clues - no real, "Professor Plum in the library with a revolver" evidence to make a detective's job easier.
And speaking of libraries, when my kids were little, we used to do a little private eye work of our own when checking-out the book, Wacky Wednesday. With shoes on ceilings and trees growing out of chimneys, it's a book about a boy who sees odd things around his house and town.
Although I love this classic book, page four always stumped me, for the boy sees three wacky things. However, my youngest daughter would only count two. The one she missed was a broom in the hallway. It never seemed out of place to her. (That's because she has me for a mom, that's why; pardon the pun, but I don’t always do things by the book.)
And I know I'm not alone in this. A friend once shouted out in her house: "Someone please get me the toilet paper out of the dining room!" Apparently a detective would struggle at gathering evidence in her house, too.
So while detectives figure out crime scenes, I try to figure out people. But through much trial and error, I've learned that a Gucci handbag does not always equal a wealthy individual, nor does green hair equal an avid swimmer, nor do those skull/spider/unicorn/Bieber tattoo sleeves equal a wild night in Cancun. And likewise, a mean comment doesn't always come from a mean person (whew!), nor does a nice comment always come from a nice person.
1 Samuel 16:7 says, "For the Lord sees not as man sees. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
What a relief to know God skips past appearances and heads straight to a person's heart and motives, making our God the very specialest of special agents – an agent of mercy. After all, solving mysteries is one thing, solving people is a whole other thing. In fact, it’s an impossible thing.
So how about this: “I hereby commission you, commission me, to be agents of mercy for the kingdom of God. Now, Godspeed as you head-out to change your world, starting with your mother who might be the type to leave brooms in hallways.”