When was the last time you were called to account by someone?
I remember my parents’ correcting me for wrongdoing. They would say they were doing it for my benefit, so I would not repeat that sort of behavior. What I had done was unacceptable and I needed to grow to maturity in the boundaries of my family’s values and norms.
I remember being disciplined in sixth grade for my behavior. A female student came to Mr. Byers classroom for some kick balls for recess. Since I sat in the rear of the class, he asked me to give her the balls. Instead of handing them to her politely, I threw them at her rather hard, and she was knocked over. Some of the boys in the class laughed, I smiled a bit, and it was off to the principal’s office for me. I later apologized to the girl and did feel bad about the incident. My friend Steve was the only one who said it was a mean thing to do and rebuked me for my action.
I remember a story about a moose in Maine when we lived in Boston. The owner of a ski resort called for help when a moose wandered up onto a deck, then continued up to the building roof. She was large and too heavy for the roof, which gave way and she crashed partway downward. Her body was on the roof, but her four legs had punched through and were hanging six feet off the ground of the lower floor until the Fish and Game warden and animal rescue team arrived. If animals could talk, the moose might have said it was sorry for walking out on the rook, and subsequently falling through. But since animals cannot speak, I’m guessing the moose was not ashamed or feeling guilty about the damage it had done.
That is one way we are different from animals. We do feel guilty when we do wrong. Well, we should anyway. We get embarrassed. We might blush and our faces turn red. We feel the need to own up to our misbehavior and apologize. If it’s really bad, we might even want to disappear for awhile…or try to. Like when I broke a window in a neighbor’s house during a snowball fight and we all ran for cover. Too late. Mrs. P saw what happened, called my mom, and I was in trouble.
Sometimes though, we just don’t care. We think the stupid thing we did was kind of funny and we laugh about it. We laugh until we get caught. Then the question is how bad do we feel when we do something wrong and own up to it? You know it’s something your parent’s would disagree with, and it is even something God says is wrong. Do you blush then? Or feel ashamed? What difference does it make if one of your friends calls you to account?
Read Jeremiah 8:4-12.
The Lord spoke to ancient Israel through the prophet Jeremiah because they had disobeyed God and wandered away from Him. They became hard-hearted and forgot how to blush, admit their mistake, and change, when confronted with their sin (v 12). Instead of being a wild, out of control horse, Jeremiah said they could learn from animals like birds who know when and where they are supposed to go in the changing seasons (verse 6-7).
God sees our lives in real time. How sensitive are we to our sinful tendencies? How many friends do you have who will challenge your words and actions? Live communally. Wise people listen when God uses a friend to point out behavior that needs to improve. You can’t hide from God. So don’t be a fool. Do not run from the rebuke of a good friend He sends to you.
Love is a verb,
©2016 by Mike Olejarz