Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country of Gilead when Laban overtook him, and Laban and his relatives camped there too. Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done? You’ve deceived me, and you’ve carried off my daughters like captives in war. Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? Why didn’t you tell me, so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of timbrels and harps? You didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters goodbye. You have done a foolish thing. I have the power to harm you; but last night the God of your father said to me, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.’ Now you have gone off because you longed to return to your father’s household. But why did you steal my gods?”.
- Genesis 31:25-30
For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord;
I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
How great are your works, Lord,
how profound your thoughts!
Senseless people do not know,
fools do not understand,
that though the wicked spring up like grass
and all evildoers flourish,
they will be destroyed forever.
- Psalm 92:4-7
Some became fools through their rebellious ways
and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.
They loathed all food
and drew near the gates of death.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them;
he rescued them from the grave.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
Let them sacrifice thank offerings
and tell of his works with songs of joy.
- Psalm 107:27-22
Psalms 14 and 53 are the same. They begin: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ ”
The first Scripture has Laban telling Jacob that Jacob had done a foolish thing, but Laban constantly did things to Jacob to trap him into staying, unable to return to the Promised Land. The second Scripture talks about how foolish evildoers will have a destructive end, lasting forever. And the Psalm 107 Scripture shows the source of foolishness – rebellion.
This is not name-calling in Psalms 14 and 53 to call someone a fool. This is basically the Biblical definition of “fool,” one who does not believe in God, a spiritual fool. Yet, modern culture, which is ruder thus they shout louder, has taken over the word and made the Christians to be the fool. Yet, the admonition in Psalm 92 transcends the culture of today. An old saying goes that “He who laughs last, laughs best.” I have seen it attributed to “______” proverb, meaning fill in the blank with any number of nationalities, but John Vanbrugh said, “He laughs best who laughs last.” The same thing, just written differently.
But laughing over a foolish neighbor who is utterly destroyed forever is not how we should look at this. We should try to help that neighbor see that believing in God is not the foolish thing the secular world makes it to be.
I used to watch the television show, The Big Bang Theory. I found attributes of each of the four nerds, the primary characters, that I could relate to, and having married me, my wife was able to laugh about. None of the broader list of characters, except for the occasional visits from Sheldon’s mother, were Christians. While Sheldon poked fun at his mother’s religiousness, the mother character was wise, even to the point of the wisdom sneaking up on you.
Yet, the spin-off show about when Sheldon was young does not have the same feel. At one point, I quit watching it, especially with Sheldon trying to set the pastor straight on his idea that there was no God and the portrayal of the mother as an idiot. But my wife enjoyed the show, so after missing about half of one season, I started back watching the show, just to have knowledge of the show when my wife wanted my opinion of one episode or another. We had simply laughed at the original show, but the spinoff has led to many theological discussions, none leaving the show in a positive light.
But in a recent episode, the older son in the family had gotten a much older woman pregnant. The parents and the grandmother do not let the young twins know what is going on, but the three older adults go in three totally different directions with regard to the single woman, approaching thirty years old who is pregnant with their teen-aged son’s child. Will these two eventually get married and start a family? Will there be an abortion? (As a flashback type show, it might not have been legal then.) Will she become an unwed mother?
To answer those questions, I would have to continue watching the show, but the “religious nut” mother takes an ugly turn in the episode. She reacts in a way that I have often seen, but after a few years of watching this woman portray Christians in the manner as the secular world sees Christians, this went over the top.
The character, who as an older woman on The Big Bang Theory, was portrayed as having downhome wisdom that a long life, and even a long Christian life, could provide. But this same woman as a younger mother of three is portrayed as a blithering idiot. After years of putting up with this insult to Christianity, excusing it as one way of people seeing Christians, we are left in this episode wondering if she is even a Christian.
The character of the mother has no concern about the unwed woman, nor her son, nor the unborn child. She is concerned that they live in a small town and what will the neighbors think about her – the woman that goes around quoting Scripture to show how all the neighbors are heathens. Now they will see that she is a fraud and turn upon her with all the Scripture she had used against them. Note: They do not quote Scripture on the show, just the holier-than-thou attitude.
Are there “Christians” like that? Sure. Not that good of Christians, but everyone has their faults. The Bible teaches us not to do that. We are to love our neighbors and leave the condemnation of the neighbors up to God, the thought of condemnation, the reason for condemnation, every aspect of condemnation – that is for God alone. We can exhort people to repent, but when we talk about their children having children out of wedlock… We cross a line, but in this episode, that line was crossed early and often.
So, do I wish to do something more productive for those thirty minutes? Absolutely. I am getting to the point that I hardly watch television anymore, and I am not missing it. In watching a television show with characters that show Christians in a bad light, we could learn from others’ mistakes. But we can also think their wrong antics are acceptable, falling into the same problem. I would much prefer to watch a Christian family with positive Christian views try to deal with the wrong thinking of the secular world. That may be far from comedy fodder, but we need something like that to give us insight in how to deal with life’s problems in the current quagmire of immorality. If the mother showed love for the three souls involved (mother, the unborn child, and the father of that child) and worked out a way, in love, to promote a healthy atmosphere for an unborn child to be born into – that might have comical moments – but it would be heartwarming and instructive.
But for those who think what is portrayed is the way Christians are, you are getting a wrong view of Christians. Christians can be very intelligent. Christians can be very creative. We do not lose our ability to think. In fact, we can think in realms which unbelievers have no capacity. It might be seen as foolish to the world – a world that has never experienced it. But you cannot, if you are a thinker yourself, dismiss it out of hand. Dig into it, and you may find that Christians do more deep thinking than most people could ever imagine.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.