A Little Folly!

“As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.” (Ecclesiastes 10:1 NIV)

The dead attract flies who are drawn by the decay and odor and when I see flies swarming–over any dead thing–I smell the odor that accompanies death. When people choose to function without wisdom from above and have no honor–for themselves or others, the folly that is the end result–outweighs the good of those who operate with wisdom and honor.

We see demonstration of folly getting more attention that wisdom on a daily basis. One of the reasons most people there is more bad or evil in the world is because that is what is reported the most.

Racism seeps and creeps into minds of people who think that all people are like those who are reported caught in doing stupid or evil. People from all races of people–all ethnic backgrounds–do stupid, but that does not mean that all the people categorized as that particular race do stupid all the time.

Because all we hear or see in the news is negative–we soon develop negative attitudes about all sorts of things. Most of us no longer trust politicians because of a few doing stupid things while in office, but that doesn’t mean that all politicians are corrupt, dishonest, adulterers, or philanderers. Not all politicians are only interested in preserving the economic classicism that exists in this country, but the few that actually care about people are seldom discussed in the news.

Not all teachers are sexual predators, but because those who are have made the headlines on more than one occasion, some people think that teachers are the reason for all the ills of education.

Not all teenagers are foolish and depraved, but when we only see those who are–splashed across the television screen or posted on social media doing stupid, we tend to think that all teenagers act like those we see–shown in a negative light.

Not all preachers or priests or church leaders are morally bankrupt, but we wouldn’t know that if we base our opinions on what we see in the news.

Not all poor people commit crimes, live off welfare and are ignorant. There are a number of people who commit crimes who were not raised in poverty, and are highly educated, but those are not the ones who get the negative reports and we make assumptions about the poor that are not true of all poor.

I’m thankful that God has given me an observant heart and a desire to understand people and why they do things. I try not to draw conclusions about anyone without having sufficient information to do so. I’m not inclined to try to persuade others to share my opinions about people because others may have different experiences with the same people and have different outcomes. When we draw conclusions about people without understanding– and we don’t have to know everything about them–we are guilty of being presumptuous and foolish.

When people are going through difficult times and don’t acknowledge us, we cannot conclude that they have a problem with us. The reality is–the problem is usually with us because we expect people to act as we want them to act.

I’m guilty of expecting people in certain positions–especially positions of leadership–to act with integrity and honor. And when that doesn’t happen, I tend to not respect them in their positions because the position is being disrespected. A little folly–being self-absorbed, thinking the world should evolve around us–leads to others having a bad impression of the whole and those who actually function with integrity, are overlooked.

O Lord, help us to be more like You, more determined to understand and slower in drawing erroneous conclusions about people or situations in which we do not have sufficient information. Help us to not spread negative reports, but to do all we can to function with integrity and honor, seeking wisdom from You, at all times.

Misjudged!

I’ve read a number of blog posts that address the birth of Jesus–more specifically–Mary and I have been thinking about how she managed to hold up her head when everyone around her was judging her–or rather–misjudging her.

Superficiality–judging a matter based on surface appearances or externals has been the cause of missteps throughout our history. People have been misjudged because of the tribe from which they came, because of the color of their skin, because of their family connections or affiliations, because of their intelligence quotas or the special needs, because of their faith or lack thereof, because of their gender or nationality–all this misjudgment–declaring something is so without having sufficient evidence.

During the time that Mary was pregnant with her precious Son, she was supposed to have been stoned to death, according to the law. We know that people did not think that Joseph was the father or they both could have been stoned to death--with the presumption that he was the father. For centuries now, whenever a woman gets pregnant without the benefit of marriage–she bears a stigma for life and in many cases so does the child. That stigma–judging a matter without all the facts–stems from a lack of compassion or self-righteousness or even worse–a superiority complex. There are some people who can never feel comfortable in their own skin unless they are attempting to make others inferior to them.

Fortunately, Mary rose above the rumors and held up her head with pride, knowing she had no reason to be ashamed. Most who have a relationship with God, understand the inference in scriptures and know how Joseph felt–but what a champion he became to his betrothed. No matter what some may say, I believe that love–Mary’s love of God and His love for her, along with Joseph’s love–gave her the strength to prevail against the naysayers and the hatemongers. She understood her purpose. She did not attempt to explain to those who would not have understood anyway–how she had been chosen by God to bring forth the Savior of mankind. They would not have believed her anyway–not then. But now–when we have historical records to review–there are some who are still unbelieving and would rather judge those who do believe–misjudging!

For as long as people have a right to believe whatever it is they believe–others will be misjudged when they do not agree. I pray that believers everywhere will develop the stamina and strength to stand up for their beliefs, regardless of how they will be misjudged by those who do not believe. We have a Risen Savior, born into circumstances beyond His control whose mother was misjudged and so was He. They had a purpose to fulfill and they did so, in spite of the naysayers.

Today, each one of us has a purpose to fulfill and many may not understand why we do what we do and we will be misjudged. Proceed with the knowledge that God loves you, and He will never leave you alone. People will talk and misjudge you, but don’t allow their thoughts about you to deter you from God’s plan for you. Hold your head high–not from self-righteousness or sense of superiority, but in the knowledge that you are doing what God would have you to do.

During this season–remember Mary and what she endured to bring us our Savior. Now endure what you must in order to please God and your reward will be great from Him–even if others don’t understand and misjudge you.

Father, in the name of Jesus, we ask that You grant us with more wisdom from on high–to do all that You would have us to do. Thank You for loving us, in spite of our shortcomings and Your willingness to experience misjudgment for our sakes. Thank You for giving us chance after chance to get our relationship right with You. Thank You for the gifts–both natural and spiritual–being developed in all right now so we can fulfill the purposes You have established for us. Help us stand in the face of adversity, knowing You are always right by our sides and we hold our heads up high. Amen!