The incident happened this Summer while extended family of mine were on vacation. My niece’s teenage son observed a group of teenagers encircled around a little boy…shoving him roughly from one teen to another…all the while taunting him. He felt compelled to step in, so he quietly walked up, put his arm around the boy and asked what they were doing to his little brother. He stood there, firmly telling them to stop and leave… using his sheer size as intimidation…until the gang broke up and moved off. As this young man got done recounting this story to me, I asked him why he thought kids bully others. His insight I thought was remarkable. He told me kids who bully are filled with anger and hurt, and they take out that pain on others. I can dare say as adults, we all fall into two camps…either we were once bullied as a child…or we were that bully. But now with Social Media, the cruelty that can be inflicted by those just wanting to be mean is enormous. As school starts for the year, have a discussion with your kids around the dinner table about bullying…all that it encompasses…and how it feels to be bullied. That just because someone else is cruel doesn’t mean you have to join in. And that being a good friend and loving one another will make a difference.
Moses led the Hebrew Children out of Egypt…but none of them ever saw the Promised Land due to their unbelief. Instead, they wandered in the desert for 40 years…going around and around the same mountain. Doubt and unbelief wastes time. God tells us to do something, but out of unbelief, we say “No!” So God sends us around the mountain to think about it. Soon, His tells us one more time the thing He wants us to do. If we again say “No!”, guess where He sends us…wandering around that same mountain! Unbelief wastes time…precious time that we could be changing lives for Christ if we had said “Yes!” the first time.
A victim mindset builds an altar to all the bad things that have happened and worships there…harping on the past and paying more attention to it than to the future. A victim mindset is put in place early on when others show sympathy, so we continue to seek that support and favor…using our past to gain attention. Soon we are defined only by our past…and not of how God is moving in our present. A victim mindset chains us to the past… never able to move ahead, and break free. For every time those old hurtful memories are brought up and dwelled upon…we’re victimized again.
Jude was warning the Church that they had allowed false teachers to infiltrate the Body of Believers. These men were called Libertines, and their corrupt doctrine suggested that Christ’s grace released them from all authority or restraint. They believed in absolute freedom without any control by God’s moral law. Their creed was, “Our souls are saved by grace, so whatever we do with our bodies, which will perish anyway, doesn’t matter! So we can do whatever we want, whenever we want to.” But Jude saw it as blaspheme and corruption both morally and spiritually…and likened them to wild animals… without conscious or control.
Time waits for no one. With each passing day, we are a little older and unfortunately, the hopes and dreams we have a little less likely to happen. When we’re young, we look at time and the future as something with limitless possibilities…but when we’re older, or disease overtakes our body…time suddenly becomes very precious. Each one of us has been allotted a certain amount of time here on the earth…time we can choose to use productively or rashly. So how are you managing your time today? Are you using it to forward God’s Kingdom…or are you aimlessly pilfering it away? Time is getting short…make the very most of it today.
If you’ve ever had to pry the fingers of a two-year-old open around a toy they won’t share…you know just how selfish humans are about their possessions. But I Timothy 6:7 tells us, “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” Everything you have or have ever possessed was a gift from God. But we consider possessions like potato chips…one isn’t enough…we want the entire bag! So where is the balance? The answer is contentment…happiness with what we have or don’t. We can then look at our possessions from God’s perspective and hold on to them not with tight fists but with loose fingers.
I’m not accusing anyone of flagrant disrespect towards the Lord…for we’d all be quick to deny it. But what I’m asking is more about the covert and secretive disrespect we show the Lord…the brashness that no one seldom knows of. The sin of omission is simply not doing what God wants us to do. It’s apathy and neglect on our part, but also thinking we know more than He does. Now we’re not brazenly telling God we refuse…we’re just quietly ignoring it…hoping it’ll just go away. But one of the most glaring signs of covert disrespect we can show God is to declare to Him, ” I can’t do that!” So as the verse asks…just who are you to talk back to God?