Daily Post: Cringe
Well, first of all, what does this picture have to do with anything, especially the title of this blog? The image above is perhaps aptly titled, “The Spice of Life.” As in the phrase, “Variety is the spice of life.” Change is about adding variety into your life. Did you know this phrase dates back to 1785, first seen in William Cowper’s poem The Task: “Variety is the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavor.” Did you also know that just the word “change” can make some people shrink away, cower in fear, or cringe in pain? What is it about change that some people hate so much?
I like to think of myself as a balanced person. I’m open to change and it doesn’t scare the livin’ dailylights out of me. However, I’m also good with routines, and order, instead of the chaos that can occur from a constant barrage of serendipitous spontaneity. I know people, and have known people, who’s lives are so structured, so ordered, that when something changes in their routine, it can be intensely devastating such that they become almost paralyzed with confusion, fear, rage, or depression.
This idea might help you understand the dynamic of what was going on in the first century when Jesus of Nazareth suddenly appeared in Judea and Galilee teaching and preaching in a way that was inconsistent with the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes. His message was much more personal. His content was intentionally focused on intent, rather than letter of the law. And being lawyers, they hated Him for it. For example…
“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER ‘ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.”
These descriptions coming from the Creator of the Universe, Himself, are telling insights into how God examines our heart’s intentions, rather than our inability (for few of us are perfect enough) to keep the letter of the law. The elders in Jerusalem were no different than many people today who believe by keeping the “rules,” God is therein obligated to look on them with favor, or salvation. Jesus made it clear in many ways, it is not about what we “do” but the “why we do it” matters just as much to God. Clearly murder as an action is wrong, God’s word says so. But such loathing and contempt as people express toward each other today, according to these words of Jesus, are just as wrong. Additionally, Jesus says if these attitudes (intentional heart motives) go unchecked, they will condemn that person to a fiery hell.
I cringe at the thought of how God must see some of the leaders in our nation today. “Variety” as a spice of life to them must mean, another of the variety of their party is ok, but if the other party wins, or tries to change something, then murdering people’s reputations is not just ok, but their only course of action. Real change in our nation’s government will require both parties to be more willing to approach this problem with a balanced mindset. Because if the contempt on display in the nation’s capital today does not cease, what we see in the future will not just make us cringe… it will frighten us to our core.
Am I saying that change is easy? No, but it is possible. Am I saying only Washington needs to change? No, but it would make it just a little bit easier for the West Coast LA LA LAND folks to accept, if the change began in our capital. Do I believe the Comey’s, Mueller’s, or Lynch’s and the like on the hill will moderate their tone and alter their narrative? Not likely. Yet, if they don’t, when I think about it the chill that runs down my spine is something that the word “cringe” doesn’t even begin to cover.
What’s the answer? The answer is the same as it has been for thousands of years now. Psalm 37 in my bible is titled: “Security of those who trust in the LORD, and insecurity of the wicked.” You should read the whole thing, it won’t take but a few minutes. Allow me to give you one highlight:
The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes at him with his teeth.
The LORD laughs at him, for He sees his day coming.
On a more positive note… just for a change…
This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!
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