Monday, November 27, 2017

I often come across sayings that I use on Facebook.  Sometimes a statement may be misunderstood by someone learning English.  Some have a “hook” which must be recognized before the statement is appreciated.  Some may be in the same category as Proverbs 22:6, misunderstood and misapplied.  Where would you classify the following: “Go an entire day without criticizing anyone”?  Have you ever noticed how hard it is to keep your mouth shut?

The comedian, Ken Davis, in his DVD “Under the Influence,” mentions an incident where he was asked something, and he should have kept his mouth shut, but didn’t.  His reason for giving the incorrect statement was, “He asked!”  Some people don’t have to be asked!  It doesn’t matter whether they know all the facts or not, right or wrong, they have the solution.  Some don’t understand the concept of keeping their mouth shut.

When the scribes and Pharisees brought to Jesus the woman caught in adultery, they wanted him to comment on Moses’ punishment (John 8:2-5).  It was a simple request.  “What do you say?”  He would not honor their request!   He refused to give his opinion.  He would not criticize the woman’s actions!  On another occasion, when arrested and brought before Pilate, he said very little.  What a wonderful opportunity to defend himself and put the Jewish hypocrites in their place!  He didn’t.  Peter informs us that Jesus left us “an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).  It is hard to keep the mouth shut!

“Go an entire day without criticizing anyone.”  Does that mean once that twenty-four-hour period is over, we may criticize to our heart’s content?  Doesn’t the statement say, “Go an entire day.”  It says nothing about the day before, nor the day after!  If someone murdered my child, does it mean I can’t open my mouth to identify the murderer?  If you say that is not the meaning of the statement, who made you our standard for understanding the correct meaning?  If someone states that his interpretation is just “common sense,” is he the standard for what is “common sense”?  If someone argues, “My common sense is recognized as the common sense held by the majority.”  Is the majority always correct?  What about the majority that yelled, “Crucify him!” (Mark 15:13-14)?

Proverbs 22:6 states, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 (KJV).  How many parents have beaten themselves up because a child decided to live upon the wrong path?  Doesn’t every individual have free will?  May a person decide he doesn’t want to follow his training?  Didn’t David commit fornication with Uriah’s wife?  Didn’t he have Uriah put in harm’s way?  Didn’t he attempt to cover up his sin and hope he had gotten away with it?  Was that because his parents did not train him correctly?  Did Nathan violate the saying, “Go an entire day without criticizing anyone,” by confronting David on THAT day?  What if Nathan decided to continue to follow that statement?  Solomon wrote the “training” verse.  Why did he have 300 wives and 500 concubines?  Was Solomon’s choice to have 800 women the fault of his parents?  We all make mistakes.  We all make wrong choices.  Are our choices the fault of our parents?  Whose fault was it that Adam and Eve sinned? Was God’s training inferior to Satan’s deception?

There is a proper meaning in both statements.  Neither were written to make fools of us.  Neither requires parents or others to use self-infliction.   Perhaps we all need to hear Jesus reply to that woman, “Neither do I condemn you.  Go and sin no more” (John 8:11).

Hmm.  “Go and sin no more.”  Does that mean, “Strive for excellence, not perfection?”  Just another saying.  But, what does it really mean?