Turning Pain into Pearls

Have you ever wondered how an oyster makes a pearl? The process is astonishing! It all starts when a foreign material, or a parasite, makes its way inside the shell and begins causing damage. The intruder can threaten the life of the oyster, so something must be done. To protect itself, the oyster seals off the threat by using the same material that lines the inside of its shell (called nacre). It cannot reject the intruder, so it literally covers it with many layers of precious material. In other words, the producing of a pearl is a defense mechanism. The result? The painful intruders are turned into the beautiful pearls we have today.

There is much we could learn from the oyster. Too often, evil intruders like discouragement, lies, insults, and anger find their way into our lives. So much good could be done if we could take these hurtful aspects and form them into pearls of love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, and encouragement (Galatians 5:22-23; Hebrews 3:12-13). Many of these are known as the "fruits of the spirit," but maybe they could also be called the "pearls of the soul."

As sad as it is, hurtful words and actions are going to enter our lives, but how we react to them is completely up to us. We could counter with a sinful response, or we could turn the pain and insults into a beautiful pearl. This discussion couldn't be concluded any better than from God Himself through the apostle Peter:

"To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing" (1 Peter 3:8-9).