Do not lie in wait like an outlaw against a righteous man’s house, do not raid his dwelling place. Proverbs 24, verse 15.
Where is your house? Taking the verse literally, it’s talking about burglary, robbery; simple enough. I live in Texas and I own guns. Under my state’s laws, if someone breaks into my house, I have the right to shoot them just because, even if they are fleeing. That makes sense to me because I believe it’s an affront to one’s security to break into their dwelling place. Our safety, our love, our security is found in our homes. If someone breaks into mine, they threaten the people I love, me, my property and all that my home represents. Potential North Texas burglars are hereby warned.
Is that all the verse is talking about?
What about relationships? Where are outlaws trying to break into your house? I have been confronted by jealous, abusive husbands because I was involved with their wives. I have been confronted by other jealous men who thought I was involved with their wives or girlfriends when I wasn’t. I’ve committed adultery. If someone is involved with your spouse or significant other, aren’t they like the outlaw who lies in wait to break into your house? They threaten the relationship you love; they threaten the well-being of their heart, your heart. In my life, I have been both the outlaw and the occupant. When the woman you love is in danger, you want to do something about it. I would want to take action, and that’s not a good place in which to find one’s self. Take it from me, you get what you deserve.
What about your self-esteem? Is it fair when someone assails you because you feel good about yourself? Is it a crime of the spirit to have someone pull you down over jealousy? Bitter hearts will try to drag you to their level of bitterness just because misery loves company. Is the bully at school or the overbearing SOB at work like an outlaw, clawing at your dwelling place from the outside, trying to steal your joy, trying to take what you have? Will you just let that happen?
What about your values? It’s not that different from the self-esteem example. If you cherish something, or if there is something you hold dear, is that something worth fighting for? I think of my dad, who seemed like a pushover in many ways. It was only when I really got to know him as a man and husband that I saw how he rarely gave ground on the principles he held dear. Everything else was just a small battle that might or might not be worth waging. I think that’s a sagely outlook. If someone tries to change you to make you ‘better’ in their eyes, or if someone assails what you believe, aren’t they like the outlaw?
Finally, what about your faith? That’s the ultimate value for even those without faith in God put their faith in something; atheist emperors of the world, your delusion is real and you really are buck naked. But let’s face it: especially when you’re young, from the outside looking in, being a believer is really pretty dull. You aren’t in the cool crowd, you believe in all these un-fun things, and all the really fun and cool things are off limits! From faith looking outward, the outlook on the outlaw is a little bit different. Looking from that vantage, I want the outlaw to know the faith, peace and love that I know. It’s too good to hold it inside. I want to share.
In these things, we have weapons. They are sharpened by believing in a loving and wise God; they are formidable when held in the hands of one so determined; they are unstoppable when we ask Him to join in our fight. Outlaws don’t stand a chance when me and God are standing watch, and Satan is the ultimate outlaw. . I bet you don’t feel much different.
Lately, I’ve been conscious that I’m not very righteous. I hear outlaws outside the window, sneaking around, plotting. My house is in disarray, my heart is tugged in many directions, and when I look in the mirror I see a tired, worried, stressed man staring back. But that’s just the looking glass. I am those things, and I own what I’ve done, what I believe and who I am. In all that, I still cling to who I love and what I believe and will gladly do whatever it takes to preserve them. I’m still struggling, wrestling and fighting, raging against the machine in so many ways. What’s better, I’m also forgiven and saved by Him who can calm all those struggles. Because of that, outlaws should beware. I’m a Texan who’s armed and dangerous and I’m not afraid to defend what I love most.