Personally, I would rather do almost anything than talk about it. Come to think about it, it’s clear no one actually wants to discuss it anyway.
Oh, that doesn’t mean no one has anything to say about it. Just the opposite is true. Almost everyone has an opinion. Many are ready to tell me what that opinion is.
But, if we’re going to talk about it anyway, shouldn’t that mean we could listen to each other? Just a little? A discussion involves give and take—statement and argument—with all involved parties listening and contributing.
We seem to have forgotten that.
Perhaps, as I do, you believe that everything you have always known to be true was written from the foundation of the earth. After all, it was taught you by people you love—people you trust.
We are, each of us, the product of our environment. Our life experiences to this point have shaped our thought processes. Our education plays a part; our upbringing does, as well.
Many who read my words have a worldview shaped by God’s Word and a relationship with a Savior God. Therefore, much of what we believe and teach comes directly from the pages of the Bible. The words do, anyway.
I wonder though, how often we mess up the application.
We study. We read. We buy books to explain what we’ve studied and read.
And then, we take a passage like this one and misuse it:
Stop and think! Do the innocent die?
When have the upright been destroyed?
My experience shows that those who plant trouble
and cultivate evil will harvest the same. *
I’ve seen the ideas in print and heard them voiced. Something similar has come from my lips. They weren’t direct quotes from this scripture, but the meaning was very close to it.
Do you know who actually said the words?
They came from one of Job’s accusers—a friend, if you will—as he sat and comforted Job with half-truths. The words were true from his perspective, but were not even close to the truth from Job’s.
It strikes me that those words could even have been spoken by someone as they watched Jesus die on the cross. There is little doubt people nearby would have nodded their heads in agreement.
If I had been alive, I might have been one of them.
No. Would have.
I would have been one of them.
The boy came in with his grandmother a couple of weeks ago, toting a wooden box with steel strings stretched across it. He had a smile pasted on his young face, as if in anticipation of the realization of a dream.
We did our best to help the dream along. The Lovely Lady aided the young man in selecting some instructional materials, while I promised to have the little melody harp in tune when next he and his grandma came to see us.
The music for this little instrument is not written in notation form. It is simply a printed diagram which lies under the strings of the harp indicating, by location and progression, the strings to be plucked. The marks are just little dots which are positioned directly underneath the string to be sounded at any given time.
I noticed something odd about the set-up as the Lovely Lady played the tune to Three Blind Mice, on the day we received the music the boy had selected.
If you are the person making the music, standing over the harp and looking down at it from the front, the diagram makes perfect sense. The notes, if they are in tune, sound clearly and accurately. Music flows from the little rudimentary instrument, with no question as to the melody.
Yet, from the top of the tiny harp, the dots line up with the strings not at all. The lines leading from one dot to the next are upside down and backwards, confusing the pattern.
There is no way the person on the other side of the harp could use the printed music to follow the tune. The result would be a halting and mistake-ridden rendition, unrecognizable as the song written by the composer.
Sometimes, we have to move to where a fellow traveler is to be able to see his or her perspective on the journey.
Neither the ministry nor the method of another pilgrim is mine to call into question, simply because my ministry and methods differ.
Perhaps, it is time for us to talk about it—whatever it is.
Perhaps, as we talk, we need to move to a different vantage point to be able to see the view our brothers and sisters see every day.
Perhaps, instead of listening to our own voices filling the air with what we think we know, we could listen to the voice of our God.
He has seen the journey from the other vantage point.
He even walked it Himself.
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
(Hebrews 4:15-16 ~ NLT)
“Child,” said the Lion, “I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own.”
(from The Horse and His Boy ~ C.S. Lewis ~ British novelist ~ 1898-1963)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved.