How long, you simpletons, will you insist on being simpleminded? How long will you mockers relish your mocking? How long will you fools hate knowledge? – Proverbs 1:22
Our small group (shout out to all my groupies!) is currently doing an ancient study (circa 2001) of Andy Stanley’s called The Best Question Ever. The study is mainly about how to make wise decisions; not good or bad, but wise. Wise decisions are basically defined in this way, applying all the truth and information that you have at hand, while also bringing into bear your past experiences, your present circumstances, and your future hopes and dreams. Once you have all of that you can then make a ‘wise decision’. It’s a great study and if you haven’t done it you may want to share this post with your small group leader and encourage him/her to do the study in the near future…hint, hint, hint!
But, I want to focus on one particular lesson in which Andy talks about the three categories of people within the book of Proverbs, the naive, the fool, and the mocker. Andy takes great care in defining each and then gives some poignant illustrations as to how they would respond. Here is a snippet of those definitions:
- Naive: also called simple or simpleton, is someone who simply doesn’t know what they don’t know. They just don’t have enough experience to be able to clearly discern. The danger here is that this person will often wrongly believe that they do know, or they know enough. This trap can be overcome by #1 gaining experience and #2 listening to older/wiser counsel. (Proverbs 14:5)
- Fool: also called foolish, is someone who knows, but doesn’t care. They know that if they stick their tongue in the light socket that it will shock them, but they want to do it anyways, it was fun the first time, so let’s do that again. A fool wrongly believes that just because it happened last time, it doesn’t mean that it’ll happen this time too, and/or they believe that unlike everyone else, they’ll get away with it. The fool can only stop being a fool by accepting the truth and changing his ways. Unfortunately for the fool this only happens after multiple times of things blowing up in his face and having to bear the consequences. (Proverbs 10:23)
- Mocker: also called the scoffer, is someone who knows, doesn’t care, and will ridicule you for caring or trying to correct him. They will continue down the same path, making the same mistakes, knowing that destruction is coming all the while humming their happy little tune. They will make fun of you, slander you, attack you as often as they can, and there is absolutely nothing that you can do to help them. In fact, the only solution is to cast them out of your circle of friends and hope that God grabs a hold of their heart. (Proverbs 9:7-8)
I’m sure as you read through the definitions you probably had pictures of multiple people flash through your mind for each of them. It may have even inspired a verbal reaction of “that’s right!”…but pause in your indignation for just a moment, how often have you been naive, played to fool, or scoffed at others counsel? Self evaluation is never easy and often painful, but always necessary if we are going to consistently make wise decisions instead of naive, foolish, or mocking ones!
Here’s to being wise my friends,
I put the word never in quotes because I believe God changes minds and hearts, but at this stage in my life and ministry, I don’t see me ever using the pulpit of good news to push the politics of the populace (man that was good, someone should tweet that!). Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing men like Jerry Falwell and other like him who felt called to be politically active and vocal, but I don’t feel similarly called. Here’s why:
- Politics, by their very nature, are incredibly divisive, and when people talk politics it often leads to arguments and hurt feelings. Accepting the message of Jesus Christ is hard enough, why put another potential obstacle in someone’s way?
- Rarely do politicians and politics veer into that which is Biblical and holy, therefore, rarely do I comment. However, when it/they do, it is my duty to comment and bring Scripture to bear.
- I never want to abuse my position as a pastor to manipulate or attempt to convince someone to vote “my way”.
- I have known many wonderful Christians who are Democrats, Republicans, Conservatives, and yes, even some Liberals. Bottom line, your party affiliation and governmental beliefs won’t get you in or keep you out of heaven.
- No politician, political party, or political agenda will ever change someones eternal destiny. Why would I waste the 40 minutes I have each week to communicate the life changing message of Jesus Christ talking about something that will not matter in eternity?
I’ve given 5 reasons why I’ll ‘never’ talk politics from the pulpit and actually rarely talk politics in public. However, notice reason number 2. Over the last two weeks the two prevailing parties have put forth their “platform” or “agenda” if they get elected, many of the issues raised go beyond the political arena and address values, morals, or culture. These things are expressly and precisely talked about in the Bible. God’s position on these issues are clearly laid out in his Word, and it is my duty as your pastor to share those with you, and your duty as followers of Christ to bend your will to His.
- My challenge: Read each of the posts carefully, then study the Scriptures on your own. Then, use your vote to support the candidate that most closely resembles your values and you believe will do the best job for your country.
- My promise Everything I write will come from a foundation of Scripture and not my own personal political beliefs, who knows, I might change my own mind! I will not go on any hearsay or rumor, but only talk about what has been expressly written down in each party’s platform
- My hope: That this will give you God’s view of things and remove much of the emotional arguments for or against.
Have a great one folks and here are the topics/values I’ll be covering, if you’ve got another one you think fits, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll take a look at it!
What’s Governments Role According To God?
Does it Matter What We Do In the Middle East?
What About Welfare?
‘Christian’ or ‘Mormon’, does it matter?
Is There Such A Thing As ‘Gay Marriage’?
Is God a ‘Capitalist’, ‘Socialist’, or something else?