Daily Proverbial, 20 September 2011

Like the useless legs of one who is lame is a proverb in the mouth of a fool. Proverbs 26, verse 7.

Have you ever felt like a total fool? We’ve talked about this before, you and I, but let me take it to another level. Have you ever thought you really knew someone and then found out that all you knew about them was a lie? Have you ever invested your heart into a relationship only to have it smashed because the other person was untruthful from the core? Have you had your feelings so destroyed and dashed after counting on them for so long? If you’ve gone through divorce, you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve ever lost a best friend because of a falling-out, you know what I’m talking about too, or even if you’re estranged from somebody in your family. And if you’re God, well, you know it better than anyone. You and I do it to him every day.

It makes me feel like a fool to translate, describe, and talk about what these proverbs mean to me. It really does. Last year, at the hardest time in my life (up until then) God put it on my heart to write about His word and what it meant to me, what I was going through, to maybe help others in similar situations. Since that time, I’ve gone through even harder times. I had personal, heart-felt friend, someone to whom I became very close, who helped me through those times. In dark hours, she literally kept me alive and encouraged me to believe, to hold on. She helped me through until she herself became the fool and fell into traps of her own making. In doing so, I let myself become ensnared in her problems and dragged my loved ones, my friends, and my faith through them at the behest of someone whose intentions were untrue at best. In doing that, I sullied God’s word, sullied the good love of people who actually do love me, and sullied my already tarnished reputation.

If you get anything good out of these messages then it is an answered prayer that God has touched you through them; none of the credit belongs to yours truly. None of it belongs to me because, as I’ve stated, I’m a fool. I’m a fool because I’m not fit to even open God’s word let alone translate it for others to understand.

Now, I’m not going to beat up my emotions here again; that’s too tawdry for a Tuesday morning and, besides, I’ve done it enough without point. My ex-friend was someone I thought I could trust, but then I learned that trust is a product of knowing you’re in a loving relationship. My ex-friend did not know what real love was, nor did I apparently for I grew to mistrust her. What friendship we had evaporated in clouds of foolish suspicion.

So do you want to know the twist on all this? It’s not about me. Repeat that again for effect: it’s not about me.

Yes, I’m a fool and, yes, I made terrible mistakes in life. Who among this readership has not? Who among us has lived a sinless life? When all is done, it doesn’t matter because life isn’t about you or me or the fools we have been. Life isn’t about me or my problems. Life is about Christ. Eternal life is about God seeing His Son clothing us in His purity instead of the foolish things we have said and done. In order for that to happen, God entrusts His wonderful word, his primary means of grace, to sinners who are filthy with indiscretions and misdeeds that should rightly disqualify us from even speaking God’s word. Next time you look at your minister in the pulpit, remember that he might as well be naked and filthy standing up there for his (or her) standing before God is just as sinful as yours or mine. Yet God entrusts His amazing word to us that we might grow His perfect love here by building relationships with each other. To do that, we need to acknowledge that we’re all broken, lame fools and then, hand in hand with that, selflessly pursue lives that say “it’s not about me.”

My ex-friend and I recently had a permanent falling-out from which I can’t see we will ever recover. We each said things that, while true, were not said in kindness or affection. She no longer wants my companionship or friendship; I no longer want hers, or the toxic way in which I think she uses and poisons those around her. There are some people who use other people for their own purposes; I have done it and now someone did it to me. Without stretching the truth, I’m betting you have done it too. I look at the choices she has recently made with scorn, pity, and sadness…and then I remember that, when I look in the mirror, I see the reflection of my own bad choices and feel ashamed to have judged so quickly. It is moments like this one when I feel like a fool, like a lame fool with useless legs and even more useless words. They are useless, that is, until God calls them to more noble duty and turns my foolishness around into His glory. He does it by using fools like us to live through, love through, teaching us that it’s not about ourselves but instead about someone much brighter.

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