I was saddened to see that a Christian friend was very upset about police action shootings and resultant conversations that she spoke out in anger with expletives on social media toward the offenders. I wasn’t saddened at the outburst; we are all alarmed at the unraveling of events. It made me sad to see the extent of our grief and anger.
Our outrage at the cowardice and audacity of the perpetrators is understandable. We hurt with the victims’ families and cringe with anger at the antics of the malefactors. It is startling to watch these events unfold seeming to get worse day by day.
There are however, two important things we need to be mindful of:
- Jesus foretold that there would be wars and rumors of wars; see that you be not troubled [Mt 24:6]
- Jesus also said “Offenses must come” [Mt. 18:7] and we may not be able to predict where they might come from.
But know this! Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus who by the Holy Spirit, comforts, and constrains us from being overwhelmed so that we can continue to minister to the world rather than be trapped in anger or fear.
This message need not be overly preachy. We are not citizens of this world, we need not fall prey to the age-old tactics of the enemy to make us think that God has deserted us. Take a deep breath and a step back. Today’s news cycle will pass. There is nothing new under the sun and Christ is seated at the right hand and we are seated in heavenly places.
I made a grand error. I frequently do. I couldn’t figure out a way to confess it to you until today. I was listening to a version of audio Proverbs and these verses slapped me across the face.
Whoever corrects a mocker is asking for insult; whoever reproves a wicked person receives abuse.
Do not reprove a mocker or he will hate you; reprove a wise person and he will love you.
Proverbs 9:7-8 New English Translation (NET)
The story behind this? I was driving to the grocery when a driver began to tailgating me, even attempting to pass me on a one-lane road. Upon arrival at the grocery store I found that the driver was in the parking lot also. Upset with the episode, I asked the driver [a female in a party of four] what was the big hurry to get to the grocery. She was not disrespectful, they looked at me like I had 3 heads. They did not apologize. The party went in the store and I went in. When I re-emerged from the store, my car had been scratched all the way around with a key. I was astounded. I began thinking that as a older man I man I may have pressed them unduly. I don’t think that I pressed them or distressed them to the extent that they damaged my car. I had an inkling to leave before I went in but I told my self that I would only be a few minutes. When I emerged from the store, they were long gone. The store would only release the surveillance footage under court order. I was sent a check from my insurance company. I have been waiting to save up the deductible to keep from losing thousands off the value of my car.
Dear readers, I enjoy my car – I do get a little irate at other drivers (I don’t think I’m alone), but the scripture is unbroken. I corrected someone who was undeserving and undisciplined. I am paying the penalty. Perhaps you will be more wise than I.
My grandmother had lots of maxims. Some might call them proverbs or wise sayings. She shared them with my mother who would then share and explain them to us kids. We would hear them and they were part of us but we as with all things of value, they needed to stay with us for awhile until we learned their depth and validity.
I was talking to one of my students, a lovely bright-eyed Latina, and told her “Pretty is, as pretty does”. She said okay but I could tell that she didn’t really hear it. I asked her if she understood, she later confessed that she didn’t. I began explaining about my grandmother’s maxims. How they were illustrative of greater truth but had to be lived and experienced to bear the fruit of their contained wisdom.
“Pretty is, as pretty does” literally describes how pretty people (male or female) are only as pretty externally as their behavior matches. Just because you are appealing to the eye doesn’t make you beautiful. Your demeanor, personality and actions must align. Compare with the following proverb:
Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
is a beautiful face on an empty head
dedicated to the memory of Myrtle Mullens