Good Tuesday morning! I am glad to be safe in the hands of Almighty God this morning! Yew, 92% humidity this morning, but a temp of only 54ºF so the morning is fairly comfortable, just a little dampish. That word may not translate very well since it isn't an actual word in English either. I took the walk slowly this morning, and challenged myself to take photos of whatever I found. The burrs, stickers, and clingers are out in force as the weeds have reached maturity and taken to seed. While snapping a few photos, I thought of how many of these things don't hurt most animals. Either their skin or hide is too tough for the sticker to penetrate, or the animal has enough fur to simply give the sticker a ride for a while before it drops off with normally shed fur. My cat likes to eat some stickers; I can't imagine the pain of putting one of those spiny, sharp things in my mouth. A photo of just a few of these barbed terrors is attached this morning. The photo was taken over by the college, but you can go up to the E-Free church and get as many of these as you want. If you want one for your yard, I can bring it right over too.
The amazing ability of just one seed, especially a weed, to populate a yard is something we can only give glory to God for designing. If but one of these little things gets a chance to grow in your grass, you will be engaged in sticker warfare for years. The Jewish leaders thought they saw a weed in their "lawn", and they immediately tried to stamp it out. With one of his first actions in Jerusalem, Jesus had stuck the Jewish leaders much like a thorn pokes our flesh. First they tried to make him look like a crazy man with his far-out statement:
"What!" they exclaimed. "It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?" (John 2:20)
Never mind their ability to destroy it in three days, the Jewish leaders simply made an assumption on that part and moved right into doubting what Jesus had said. Their exclamation is one much like, "Are you crazy?" This is a common method of 'winning' an argument in many talk show and radio conversations. Taking the statement made by your opponent, you add just the right amount of incredulity and sarcastic volume, and serve it back to him as a question. Of course, such a method doesn't disprove a point any more than raising your eyebrows or making a funny look at the person. If you want to learn other methods that accomplish just as little, turn to any television talk show for a lesson in silly looks, incredulous stares, and verbal abuse. We feel the temptation to use these same methods during arguments, but is that how a Christian should act? In Matthew 11:29, Jesus tells us a little about himself: "Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
If our risen Lord and Savior is humble and gentle at heart, and we are to be like him, then we have learned how to act. Trying to make a person look bad through making fun of their words is not the way to act like Jesus. When Jesus argued with the Jewish religious experts, he often started right in their own scriptures. Even when speaking with the devil, Jesus didn't resort to the kind of verbal attacks we see in our television talk shows. If Jesus didn't act that way with those who opposed him, then we need to follow his example. A gentle answer might be difficult in many situations, especially at some workplaces these days or if you go into politics, but we are to follow our Lord.
Someone may use this very method when you tell them about our risen Savior, remember to be humble and gentle at heart.