“If you play the fool and exalt yourself,
or if you plan evil,
clap your hand over your mouth!
For as churning cream produces butter,
and as twisting the nose produces blood,
so stirring up anger produces strife.”
- Proverbs 30:32-33
“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. When we do something wrong, we can expect that we will have to suffer for it. Every day, the little boy had stopped to throw stones at the birds, which roosted along the fence. He had never been much of a shot, and they always flew away before he could come close. One day, he hefted a rather large stone, and let it fly at the unsuspecting birds. The rock flew straight, and hit a bird, knocking it from the fence. In shock and horror, the boy raced up to the fence and picked up the lifeless bird. He began crying, telling the bird he hadn’t meant to hurt it. He felt sick inside and helpless as he looked at his own handiwork.
Why is it that people tempt fate, and then they are so shocked when something goes wrong? If we play with fire, we will eventually get burned. If you strike someone hard enough on the nose, it will bleed. If you churn milk long enough, it will turn to butter. If you dwell in wrong and sinful acts, then you will have to encounter the wrath of God. It is not speculation, it is reality, and the wise understand this and do everything they can to avert the disaster which must result.”
- Dan & Nancy Dick, Daily Wisdom from the Bible
I once took my BB gun into the forest behind my parent’s and paternal grandparent’s homes. My brother had always been the great hunter, but whenever I went with him, I became a spotter for my brother and his friends to do their hunting. The only reason that my brother allowed me to hunt with him was that I had a knack for finding squirrels, rabbits, and such. I was a great animal watcher, but I was never allowed to participate in the hunting, probably because my brother was afraid, since I saw the animals better, I might outdo him.
But my brother was grown, out of college, married, and now he had a family of his own. I was alone with my trusted dog, Big Red. I mostly scared the animals away, but then there was a cowbird on a low tree limb. I aimed my BB gun and fired. The cow bird fell, and Big Red ran to eat the prey. By the time I got there the bird was gone. Did I kill it and Big Red ate it in one gulp? Or did I stun the bird and it flew down the hill, out of sight. I will never know, but I lost my interest in hunting at that point. I can relate to the boy who threw rocks at birds in the devotion above.
I am not saying that hunting is bad. The animal populations need to be controlled and I think venison is a tasty meat, but I lost interest in it. If someone invited me to a deer stand, I would go. I would let them hunt, and I would read a book or take a nap.
We all do things, not thinking of the consequences. Have you ever jostled for position to get a better view, like at a parade, and someone fell? Not the one that you were near, but like dominoes, you shouldered your way, the next person stumbled, knocking into a third and then “granny” was unable to shift her feet.
Have you ever made a profit that was a little bit toward the obscene amount of profit and then you saw your customer struggle to make ends meet? This idea brings back memories of street vendors in Thailand, India, and China, especially China – even Mexico. No price tag on anything. They see American and the price increases threefold. If you are good at negotiating the price. You can get them to cut the price in half. This might require shaking your head and walking away, multiple times. If they think they have the hook set, they will run after you and guide you back into their lair. You will pay half again more than you should or even double what you should, but it is still a better deal than you could get in the USA. The jewelry is authentic and probably better quality than in the USA (higher gold content and natural stones), but my wife’s designer bag (a knockoff) lasted about a year and the “Rolex” watches for $5 a piece did not last much longer. But, I had one sister-in-law, knowing it was a knockoff, who would hold her hand in the air and shake it (to wind the watch) and then she would yell, “It’s a Rolex!” Just for a laugh. It “looked” like a Rolex. But while you got cheap stuff cheap, they made obscene profits. And I always went away thinking I could have gotten them to go lower.
Sometimes when you do something that causes pain in another person, even without any evil intent, you end up feeling like a heel.
These days of disconnect and self-absorption seem to be rife with such sins.
Sins?! Yes, even when you meant no harm. Our biggest sin is seeing the guy in the other car as an intrusion into our pleasant drive, and usually when the other driver was minding their own business. We see the auto mechanic as a crook, replacing parts on your car that they know worked properly. Okay, we don’t “know” but we suspect. When my wife is confronted by the nurses in the dialysis center with refusal to work with her poorly functioning fistula, when the surgeon claims that their needle marks are more than a centimeter (or half inch) away from where they should stick her, she feels victim to something – place whatever label you think appropriate – when they did not even try? And when they try and miss, she gets a hematoma that takes weeks to heal, making the arm useless and purple (the whole arm), but the alternative to the abuse is to not have dialysis and die. Or more surgery that could lead to other problems that the surgeon does not want to face – then the blame is on him. You think the worst, regardless of their intent.
In some ways, we tempt fate where someone can get hurt by our inadvertent actions or we get hurt by their actions on a daily basis.
They did not notice that you were there because they were self-absorbed. I often pull up next to someone who is texting at the red light. I will go and without looking, they go. That may be dangerous when we are in parallel lanes, going in the same direction, but recently, by me going, I have gotten the car in the next lane to run the red light. In one case, I was in a left turn lane with a green arrow allowing me to go, but the texting driver was in a straight-ahead lane. When I moved, he saw motion out of the corner of his eye, thought the light was green and he nearly hit a car turning left from the opposite direction. They person turning left slammed on the brakes. In the other incident, it was lucky that the other driver’s mistake was at an empty highway. We were at a T-intersection, the other driver turning left and me turning right. The light was red, but with no traffic, I could turn right on red after I stopped. When I went, the car to my left turned left illegally – all because he saw movement and thought the light had changed without ever looking.
If people are that addicted to texting while driving, when countless people lose their lives each year by that dangerous activity, what other things are being done due to a mindset that “I am important and I can get away with it.”
Yes, that is sinful. We are commanded to love one another. Just trying to prevent harming another person, even to not get sued, is better than what most people do these days. And when you get injured, they pretend injury for being accused. To their defense, they were so self-absorbed, they may not have noticed that your nose was within striking distance (just to bring us back to the Scripture).
Remember, there are others out there that may not care as little as you do. Okay, I know if you are reading this, you care. Someone has to care or we are not tempting fate, we are driving off a cliff at high speed.
Love one another. They may not notice, but it may be a safer way to live. And God notices such things.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.