Sunday, July 20, 2014

Don’t Relish the Pickle (Frank Myer)

Good evening! My devotional tonight is penned by my friend, Frank Myer. Frank and I went to Harding University together and our folks did the same several decades previously. Frank writes a weekly devotional called Friday From Frank and he has graciously loaned me several of his excellent pieces! Please continue to pray for me in Vietnam!

Friday From Frank
Don’t Relish the Pickle
Good Morning Culinary Participants,
Hey, life is a feast - - enjoy.
Recently, I was visiting with a person who told me he had done some wrong things in life. ( I was hoping for details, all I got was a general overview. ) He was confronted by a church –going spouse. Here’s where it got interesting. With great joy the church-goer let the former know he was going to hell.
As he said; “They probably are right, but did there need to be so happy about it? “
It seems the church-goer was relishing the fact said sinner was in a pickle, a very serious one at that.
Are we in the same soup?
How often do we seem to enjoy the fact that others are going to hell. It’s like a sport to us.
We all seem to know the verse that denotes the said sin, and the consecutive results.
This is not a new human emotion . Read Jonah. 
What about compassion?
Let’s check out a couple of examples –
Let’s start of with a very important verse.
John 11:35  Jesus wept.
Why is that important?  If you are a teenager and your homework assignment for Sunday School is to learn 10 Bible verses before next week, it’s a great place to start.  I digress.
Why was JC weeping? Someone had died. A friend of his, a very close friend, and it turned out to be such a close friend he brought him back.
Ok, I know what you’re thinking – well that’s just sad, that doesn’t really count. Yes it does, because if nothing else it shows Jesus empathized and sympathized.  He understood pain and grief.
Rich young ruler – we like this one – well at least the part where Jesus knocks him down a peg  or two, we don’t like the “go sell it all” part, but that’s a different topic. Look at Mark 10 – around verse 21 – Jesus loved him. 
How many times have you heard the rich young ruler story and not heard that part?
Think this is a New Testament thing?  Wrong-o Religious Breath ( A little homage to Johnny Carson, the second most liked JC. )
Go way back to Exodus – Moses is talking to his friend, God. Imagine that, being able to be able to be called a friend of God.
Exodus 34 – tells us God says He is full of compassion. He is gracious. Slow-to-anger and loving rounds out the characteristics of God.
Maybe we should strive to work on those as well.
Several years ago, Bobby Mitchell, #1 Country DJ in Dallas, and I were having lunch. He told me about a woman, of questionable background, who came to church. He watched as she was greeted with less than overwhelming enthusiasm.
I asked what did he do?  ( Truth be told, I made a couple of totally inappropriate remarks that were witty and worth a good laugh or two, then I settled down. )
Bobby said I got to thinking that this lady has probably been told more than once what she has done wrong. So I went up and introduced myself and asked : “How can I help you?”
What happened next?
She was so relieved she almost started crying.
That lesson has stuck. Bobby is one of the good guys in this world.
Last Sunday Michael McGaughey, who as far as I know was never voted #1 DJ anywhere, mentioned in class – “You don’t have to warn people about going to hell, they are living it every day. “  Maybe he is on to something.
As far as I can tell, I am not on the judgment committee, so I prefer not to waste any brain energy on deciding who gets in and who doesn’t.
My job from what I can tell from Eph 2:10 is do what I can to make this place a better world.
If that means passing a good chance on letting someone know how lost and miserable they are, and where they will end up, so be it.
For the record, this is far harder than it sounds. Still one has to strive for a goal, doesn’t one?
If  not, then we’d all be in a real stew.
Enjoy the ride,
PS – Being compassionate is like any other skill, it takes practice. Start out on strangers, then if you mess it up, they won’t talk about you at church. 

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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