"Elephant in the room" is described on Wikipedia as an "an English-language metaphorical idiom for an obvious problem or risk that no one wants to discuss, or a condition of groupthink that no one wants to challenge. As far as we know, the idea was first expressed in a Russian fable called "The Inquisitive Man" written in 1814. And it has been around ever since in one form or another.
Most all of us understand the point that in our society we often agree to not talk about certain things. To pretend as if they do not exist. Repression shows up on the societal level, not just on a personal level. I have a feeling that the Roman soldiers were often "the elephant in the room" for the disciples and others in the time when Jesus was on this earth.
Most places where I have worked there have been some kind of elephants in the work place. There are some for me right now. One of the problems, however, is that, just as the disciples, we often talk too much about the elephant in the room. If we don't know how to deal with it, we gossip about it. We won't address it publicly, but we love to whisper behind our hands about it around the proverbial water cooler.
I do that too, unfortunately. But the Spirit has reprimanded me about that . . .
He has reminded me how Jesus addressed his followers when they would start whispering about the Roman elephants. He described the care and feeding of "the problem, the risk, the groupthink" in this way:
This is a radical departure from our usual treatment of elephants . . . from avoidance or gossip, to grace-filled feeding.
Instead of ignoring problems in our family, church, or workplace, we are to speak the truth lovingly, and then go about taking love and assurance from God to pour out on the problem situation or people. We don't "lick our wounds," we don't conspire to get even, we don't even explain how differently we would handle things if we were in a different position.
We love. We take from God the assurance and the peace and the love that we need, and we pour it out on the elephants . . . whatever or whomever they may be. Then, we leave the results to God. We take to give.
I recent saw a pictorial parable by Michael Belk that shows a Nazi soldier walking away down a dusty road, and by his side, talking with him earnestly and respectfully is Jesus . . . carrying the soldiers rifle and knapsack for him.
I must admit . . . I don't have any elephants bigger than that one to care for and feed. What about you?
© Kathy Beagles Coneff
"Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love" (Eph 4:15-16, ESV)