Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Reputation, it’s a big deal. Much bigger than we often wish to admit. To solidify my point, I’ll use two words. “Social Media.” We’ve all seen and heard examples of those who would exalt themselves or try to spur dissension when they are in a nice safe place on the other side of an anonymous computer screen. And many of us have been guilty of doing exactly the same thing.
Proverbs 25:6-7 speaks to exalting ourselves. It reminds us that we are probably not the world authority on anything, and that even if we are, our authority doesn’t extend to every topic. Experts and non-experts alike, if we are wise, will cultivate an attitude of a learner. We might be exalted to another place, or we might not really be fit for that place. But we approach it with humility.
Our world of virtual interactions is a place where hostilities can arise just about any time, and many of those hostilities are a jostling for position. I recall a conversation on social media where several people from widely divergent viewpoints were responding to a question I had asked about the underlying causes and later effects of a particular historical event. One of the respondents spoke in a rather authoritative manner, essentially saying that several others were not taking the whole situation into account, and that reliable historians would take a particular different view. When one of the people he had contradicted pressed him about why he thought he and those other people were correct, he observed that he was familiar because he held an advanced degree in history. He was then criticized for “pulling his credentials” like someone might pull a weapon. This is not an uncommon event. When we approach culture, events, and public affairs with a spirit of humility we will not become involved in as many conflicts as we might otherwise. Our right points of view will eventually be respected. Our wrong points of view will eventually be corrected. We and those around us will grow because of it.
Verses 8-10 speak about confrontations, and how they should be relatively private. Again, the issue is that if we make public accusations or condemnations (or, for that matter, praise) without knowing and considering the facts adequately, we may be shown to be wrong. Then we are worthy of criticism. The situation also has been made worse because of our rash speaking or actions.
Again, this is often the case in public discourse these days. When someone says something, or is thought to have possibly said or done something, thanks to modern technology, the alleged news can be spread around the world in a matter of minutes. Criminals become saints, saints become criminals, the person who is doing nothing wrong may become the target of outcry, the person who does wrong may be thought to be doing right. We neglect the due process of the rule of law in our rush to judgment. Rather than resolving issues as reasonable adults, we find ourselves in fights worthy of condemnation. The fire, once started, is very difficult to quell.
Lots of wisdom in our Old Testament reading for this week. God always speaks wisdom. May He speak it into our culture.
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