Categories
Christian Living

Illusions of Fairness

People who teach young children often hear them say the same things over and over. “It’s MY TURN!” “I’m telling on you…” And my favorite, “That’s not fair!”

Big people are, well, bigger than this of course. We’re too sophisticated to stoop to the “tit for tat” spats of childhood. Or are we?

Just four chapters into the Bible, we find someone who thought he was treated unfairly. And this “little boy” retaliated in the worst way imaginable. Cain killed his brother Abel because God favored Abel’s offering over his own. The Lord tried to intervene, but Cain wouldn’t listen.

Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.

Genesis 4:6-7

You mean I should take responsibility for my own thoughts and actions, Lord? I can CHOOSE how I respond to my feelings?

It’s time to put on my big boy pants.

“Fairness isn’t the key to happiness,” says Mitch Teemley in his recent post, Fairness is Overated. Why? “Because we never stop wanting things.” His accurate conclusion was this: while fairness in itself isn’t a bad thing, linking your personal happiness to it CAN be.

Mitch’s wise words came at just the right time. I was about to throw myself a Cain-sized pity party (minus the homicidal intentions) because something hadn’t gone my way.

Can you relate, kind reader? Maybe you have a “That’s not fair!” button too.

Don’t hit back; discover the beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”

Romans 12:17-19 (MSG)

Photo by Randy Jacob on unsplash.com

Categories
character Christian Living

Guard Your Heart

Growing up, my house was the neighborhood hub for summer fun. Friends came to play basketball—every day but Sunday—and lined up afterwards for my mom’s homemade popsicles. The front drive was always abuzz with activity.

I think my parents liked it this way, because they knew where my brothers and I were, and could also keep a watchful eye on everyone. They were teachers (off in the summer) and almost everyone in our little town knew them.

Occasionally, after the last pick-up game, when everyone had gone home, my dad would warn me about someone who’d been there that day. “Son, I heard the Perkins kid using the F-word and saw him throwing elbows under the rim. That’s not the kind of friend or player you want to be.”

I actually thought *Jimmy Perkins was kinda cool. But even as a teenager, I respected my father’s advice; he was a good judge of character. Sure enough, later that fall Jimmy got kicked off the team and suspended from school for punching our basketball coach in the face!

Awhile later, I came across the apostle Paul’s warning to the Galatians: “A little yeast works through the whole bunch of dough,” (Gal. 5:9) and I realized what my father had done: he protected me by pointing out someone who was a bad influence.

There’s actually quite a bit in the Bible about how much damage a little leaven can do. Paul used the analogy to clue the Galatians in to the dangers of legalism, but said almost the same words to caution the Corinthians about tolerating a totally different situation. (1 Cor. 5:6-7) Jesus Himself weighed in on the issue. He told his disciples to, “guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees,” who added their own pious rules to God’s law (Matt. 16:6-12).

The point is, we need to examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5). One step daily with God in the right direction can transform your life. However, walking backwards has the opposite effect.

I like how fellow blogger Chris Hendrix puts it in his post Defeating Hidden Sins:

“Guarding my heart became something I did rather than just something I read about in the Bible. If every sin was hiding in my heart, waiting for the right moment and circumstances to align, I needed to be more cautious.”

Chris Hendrix

AMEN! Guarding your heart is something you DO.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life

Prov. 4:23

To read about my own personal misjudgment with the proverbial yeast, please see the post, Just a Little Off Course.

*not his real name.

Photo by Spencer Lind on Pexels.com

Categories
Hope

“Cat”astrophe

Photo by Wojciech Kumpicki on Pexels.com

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Proverbs 4:23

Our neighbor’s cat, Peanut Butter (she’s the same color), likes to come over to our house and taunt our dogs through the patio door. She stretches out on the welcome mat, leans against the glass and preens herself like a primadonna. Of course, Sami and Cooper respond with snarls and growls from inches away inside.

Well, recently, the three of them almost met up for real! Peanut Butter also likes to come into the garage every time the door opens. Luckily, I’ve always caught her in the act and put her back out. But the other day she got past me somehow and became trapped in the garage, setting up a potential “cat”astrophe.

Luckily, the dogs wanted to go out at about the same time, heading through another patio door to the backyard. Meanwhile, I went back through the garage to get some gardening tools, inadvertently letting our feline friend into the laundry room. The next thing I know, I hear my wife screaming, “Peanut Butter is in the house!” I’m thinking, “Of course it is! We buy a jar every Saturday.” But I came around the corner and there she was, INSIDE the house, flicking her tail mischievously and peering OUT the patio door!

As luck would have it, the puppies weren’t even paying attention. I was able to extract Peanut Butter from the house without further incident.

This comedy of errors brings to mind an alarming fact: the misguided influences of this fallen world are particularly invasive. From the television above the mantle, to the phone in my pocket, there are plenty of ways to let unwelcome thoughts and things into the house.

Evil is so prevalent in our society most people are anesthetized to it. So what’s a God fearing person to do? Here are a few thoughts:

  • Meet up with God every day: Most of us bathe daily, eat daily, and sleep daily, why not prayer and Bible study?
  • Turn off the tech: Lately, I’ve gotten into the most delightful habit: everything with a screen gets turned off after 8 p.m.
  • Tune out: Frankly, 90% of what happens in the world is of little interest to me. It’s amazing how much you can ignore and still live happily.

No more “cat”astrophes.

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/08/17/catastrophe/