“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” It’s said so often, usually with a tone of surprise that anyone would actually take the dilapidated piece of furniture sitting out on the curb with a “Free” sign. It could be infested with bugs, stained, tattered, and inhabited by mice, and someone will still want it.
Garage sales and thrift stores are crammed full of long-forgotten treasures that someone once bought at top dollar but has long since outgrown. Things that once cost a fortune are now on sale for next to nothing, and every week the value drops a little bit more.
Then one day you’ll see that same item in someone’s house, repaired and painted, or maybe even used in a completely new and creative way, and it comes as a surprise that something that had seemed so worthless before now has so much more value. An example of this is an old toilet I saw this week sitting on someone’s front lawn. There were bright flowers spilling out of it and cascading over the sides, and it was lovely in all its whimsy and creativity.
People are a lot like that. We might look at someone and see nothing but a used up, broken, battered, worn out mess of a life that’s no longer useful. Perhaps they made a series of poor lifestyle choices. Maybe they’ve never been loved or wanted. Sometimes entire families are emotionally crippled by abuse and tragic circumstances. Whatever the factors are that led to their current situation, we can’t imagine that this person could ever be of any use to society, so we dismiss them and move along.
Thankfully God is in the business of creating priceless masterpieces out of ruined lives. He sees past all the pain, brokenness, and grime and knows exactly how to lovingly restore, shape, and rebuild us into something completely new.
There is wisdom in avoiding toxic people whose attitudes and actions can spill over into our lives and affect us. Staying away from people who can influence us in a detrimental way is a good thing. But just because someone looks like trash now doesn’t mean they can’t be treasure in the future. There is always another chance with God, no matter what has taken place in the past.
Avoid toxic people but learn to recognize the potential. You may be pleasantly surprised to uncover hidden treasure.