09 May, 2015

Be Careful Who You Turn To

One of my favorite peeves is when people take things that are said out of context and twist words to say or mean something entirely different than what was intended. The media does this all the time. And let me be clear, both the liberal AND the conservative media do the same thing. It irritates me to no end to see a slam on the President with a headline that makes an accusation about him and then when you check out the story and put things into context, it is painfully obvious that what he said was in no way meant or intended to be what the media says that he said. Integrity matters. If you know me, you know that there is not much I agree with our current President about, but I still believe in truth and honesty and believe that when we lose integrity, we've lost it all.

I said all that to say this: It is just as vital that we be truthful and honest about the Word of God. I hear people misquote and misdirect the intent of the scripture to twist it to say what they want it to say rather than what it does in fact say. One of the glaring examples of this is the whole "Judge not" thing that people like to throw around. I'm not going to go into that right now, but if you want to know more, try reading this (Judge Not). There are countless others, with many of them be twists toward the prosperity gospel or other popular trends in the church.  One that has always bothered me is how the majority of the time we teach Proverbs 23:7 out of context. In case you are not familiar, that verse says, "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he."  This is usually preached and taught as a matter of positive confession, and I will not debate the fact that it could also be used to make the case for us guarding what and how we think about, the fact is that in context, this passage is saying something far different. 

When you look at this verse, not isolated, but put into the context of the passage it is written in, there is a very strong and important warning to us about who we associate with and using caution to know the true character of those we listen to and associate with. Let's look at it in context (one really need look at an even larger section of this chapter to get the full weight, but for the sake of time and space I'm only going to use verses 6-9.) 
" Do not eat the bread of a miser, nor desire his delicacies; for as he thinks in his heart, so is he. "Eat and drink!" he says to you, but is heart is not with you. The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up, and waste your pleasant words. Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words." 

You see, in context, it is telling us to judge the character of a person's heart, not listen to their lying words. People will look you right in the eye and tell you they care for you, want what is best for you, but their heart despises you and what you have and their goal is to deceive you and to use you and often to bring you down to their level. I see this so often when a man or a woman is having marriage trouble and they go to a friend or relative for advice and the person spews poison into them because their goal is not to bring healing to your marriage, rather it is to tear your marriage apart so that you are on their level. It amazes me to see how many people run to their "friends" who are divorced or are themselves in a bad marriage for advice rather than going to a couple who have years, even decades of marriage under their belts and asking for godly counsel.  This passage of the Bible is telling us to use caution and to KNOW who we are allowing to speak into our lives and to know what their character is, because their words can be entirely deceptive. THIS is the message we need to be teaching from this passage... not the power of positive confession! This scripture, in context, lines up entirely with the wisdom of David found in Psalm 1 where he writes: 
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. 
Allow me to share that again from the Contemporary English Version of the Bible.
"God blesses those people who refuse evil advice!" 

I see it all the time... people run to the woman in a bad marriage for advice. They run to the home where there is a history of abuse asking what to do when they've been abused. Or they go to the home where children are unruly and ask for parenting advice. They will run to the home of someone who is habitually on welfare and not working to ask for financial advice. What amazes me is that people sitting in the church will run to those outside of the church or even those in church but with the most undisciplined and chaotic lives looking for advice. Solomon said in our passage: "The morsel you have eaten you will vomit up." What does he mean? He means you will live to regret what you have received from such a person! It will make you sick!

He who has ear to hear, let him hear.



2 comments:

Jerry Thorpe said...

I agree. We all need to seek counsel from time to time. But too often people run to and fro looking for advice. They take advice from anyone willing to give it. Rather than seeking God's advice and searching His word for the answers they want a quick answer or sympathy for the problem. I do believe seeking counsel. But I will only take advice from someone that has experience with the issue. And that advice has to line up with God's word. We are coming into a time when the world will be looking for answers. The church must be ready to provide The Answer.

Jerry Thorpe said...

I agree. We all need to seek counsel from time to time. But too often people run to and fro looking for advice. They take advice from anyone willing to give it. Rather than seeking God's advice and searching His word for the answers they want a quick answer or sympathy for the problem. I do believe seeking counsel. But I will only take advice from someone that has experience with the issue. And that advice has to line up with God's word. We are coming into a time when the world will be looking for answers. The church must be ready to provide The Answer.