“Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater”. I think we’ve all heard that phrase. Frequently we’re required to make changes, even big changes; it’s important during the midst of these changes that we maintain and protect the essentials.
You can see this process unfold in many arenas… sports, government, the family, community, the church. Changes are needed, but they need to be done with care. Right now there’s unrest in the New York Yankees organization. They had a disappointing post-season, swept by the ”hated” Houston Astros. Fans are frustrated…. no surprise as Yankee fans are always frustrated even when they win the World Series. The hubbub is rising…”get rid of the GM, the manager is lousy, the players are exasperating, even Judge was a disappointment in the post season…. sure he’s probably the MVP of the league and set the American League Home Run title with 62, but hey…..” .
When frustration and disappointment rise, we can be tempted to make radical changes, unwise changes, “just do something changes”. “I’m quitting that crummy job”. Without knowing it we can “throw the baby out with the bathwater”.
So, how should we proceed when we notice that the “bathwater is getting a bit murky”. Well it’s vital to identify the essentials, to locate the “baby”…. to identify what can’t be thrown out …. what is essential to this life.
In our life with Christ, we have the essentials of our faith… the Trinity, salvation thru the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The scripture and catechism outline many other things… a hierarchy of truths. Prayer is essential to our life in Christ. We need to know our faith well enough so we can recognize the essentials. When someone teaches that Jesus was just a good man and not God, or that God didn’t create men and women, or that the baby in the womb is not precious life, then the “baby is getting thrown out with the bathwater”. The Holy Spirit helps us to recognize when this is happening and to put up a STOP SIGN.
In our family we need to guard against true expressions of love for our spouse and children being pushed aside… e.g. ”not having time to listen to our spouse and children, no time to help and care for them, to laugh with them”… these are all signs that essentials are being pushed aside”. It’s easy to replace these essentials with the trivia of the culture… throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
Well there is much more to be said about all of this, but let’s just be alert when we are making changes to not do it out of frustration. Let’s make changes in a context of peace and prayer. Let’s make them with the essentials clearly identified, and we will hopefully not have to run out of the house looking for the baby who’s flying out the window. And that is good news.