Pastor’s Desk June 22nd

Scripture Passage:  “”He that passes by, and meddles with strife belonging not to him, is like one that takes a dog by the ears.”  Proverbs 26:17

“Where no wood is, there the fire goes out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceases.  As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.”  Proverbs 26: 20-21

Dear Friends,

     Anyone who has kept up with the news lately realizes we live in a volatile society.  Every social issue ranging from small and insignificant to large and contentious remind us of this American powder keg we call democracy.  Our forefathers wished for the “American Experiment” to be a case study in freedom and democracy.  They knew that every freedom and “right” also carried a high degree of responsibility.  A person who abuses those rights is no better than a dictator or monarch who abuses the power he has been granted.  Every right we have been granted by God, is to be used to glorify God and for the good of society.   When a person focuses upon themselves and what their rights are, they lose sight of what true freedom is.  A person who focuses on others is a servant.  A person who focuses on themselves is a prima donna. 
 

     I am often asked to get involved in family affairs including marital conflicts.  I always say I will help when both parties want me to be involved.  If either one does not, I will not involve myself in the situation.  The first proverb today addresses that.  If you take an old cur dog by the ears, you had better not turn lose because when you do, it will turn on you and bite you.  When my brother was little, we watched out the window as he rubbed two black and tan pups heads together to get them to fight.  When the fight pursued, he was caught in the middle of it and couldn’t get out.  We have laughed about it down through the years as we recall his involvement in the fracas.  Now he is a deacon in a Baptist church trying to settle disputes instead of cause them. 

     Even though many things change over the course of time, there are other things that remain the same. Such is human nature.  There have always been gossips, talebearers, and whisperers behind the scenes.  The damage they do is often irreparable.  The only thing that stops them is when they get caught “with their hand in the cookie jar.”  They use water fountain conversations, cell phone text messages and even special prayer requests to spread dissension and speculation.  They hide behind a cloak of religiosity but their intentions and effect prove to be divisive.  James says “The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: and it is set on fire of hell.”    James 3:6   The great pastor and Bible Commentator from the sixteen and seventeen hundreds, Matthew Henry, had this to say about these two verses from Proverbs 26.

 

     “Contention is a fire; it heats the spirit, burns up all that is good, and puts families and societies into a flame.  We must not give ear to tale-bearers, for they feed the fire of contention with fuel; nay, they spread it with combustible matter; the tales they carry are fireballs.  Those who by insinuating base characters, revealing secrets, and misrepresenting words and actions, are to be banished, and then strife will as surely cease as the fire will go out when it has no fuel.  Whisperers and backbiters are incendiaries not to be suffered.  They wound love and charity and give a fatal stab to friendship and Christian fellowship.  We must not associate with peevish, passionate people.  These are contentious men that kindle stride.  The less we have to do with such the better, for it will be very difficult to avoid quarrelling with those that are quarrelsome.”    Matthew Henry 

In Christ,

Pastor Johnny