Does Change Make You Cringe?

Daily Post:  Cringe

spice of life

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…

Matthew 5:21-22
“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:

Psalm 37:12-13
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…

Psalm 118:24
This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!

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Just for Giggles


so funny

I have to be honest.  The minion movies are some of my favorite kid flicks for all time.  Somehow they just tickle my funny bone, and I giggle, chortle, titter, tee-hee, snicker, and guffaw throughout the whole movie.  When I laugh like this I feel better afterward.  When I chuckle and giggle for an hour and a half, I come out the other side feeling refreshed and alive, and my burdens seem a little lighter.  Intended or not by the film makers, I know this is God’s design.

The wisest man to ever live said,

There is an appointed time for everything.
And there is a time for every event under heaven…
A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance…
[Ecclesiastes 3:1-4]

The Creator of the Universe once appeared in human flesh as the Son of God.  When He taught the people he said,

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh
[Luke 6:20-21]

When King David was a little anxious of his enemies, he remembered the God he served with these words,

They return at evening, they howl like a dog, and go around the city.
Behold they belch forth with their mouth; swords are in their lips, for they say, “Who hears?”
But YOU, O LORD, laugh at them; YOU scoff at all the nations.
[Psalm 59:6-8]

One more, from King David, helping us trust in the LORD,

The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes at him with his teeth.
The LORD laughs at him, for HE sees his day coming.
[Psalm 37:12-13]

What do we glean from just these verses?  The Creator laughs at us when we fret over things which He controls, and we do not.  The Creator also created us to be able to laugh like He laughs, so we can get over our fears and anxieties.  The Creator has given us His word that He is in control, that He has the authority, and that He is ever-present with us.  What’s not to laugh?

I’ve done this all my life, and I’ve been ridiculed, mocked, or judged for this simple response to the pressures of life.  When something bad happened, when I’ve gotten bad news, when someone abandoned me, when some enemy came at me strong, my first reaction often was an almost silent chuckle.  Some people, and rightly so, would call this a defense mechanism.  In defining my action this way, they suggest I’m weak.  However, I believe with all my heart that this reaction is a gift to me for my faith in the Creator.  For I have an overwhelming assurance that nothing can come at me from heaven or earth that will ever separate me from Jesus my Savior, God my Father, or the Holy Spirit my comforter.  [Romans 8]  The silent chuckle is my great defense, because in that moment I am reminded who loves me the most.

I believe this truth so strongly that when faced with pain, loss, frustration, or temptation, I can just chuckle, and know My God will deliver me from this too.  When I look into the eyes of my enemy.  I’m more like Kevin, the minion above, … “You are so funny!”


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