Sunday, October 26, 2008

What does it all mean?

I love a good riddle. They make me think and use that grey matter that God gave me and that is a good thing. Too many people go from day to day in the reactive mode and don’t think about what they are doing or saying and really need to exercise their brains to keep the cobwebs out. They want everything spelled out so that they don’t have to think.

Here is one of my favorite riddles:

A father offers his two daughters to a young man to pick one for marriage. They are identical in looks but they are very different. One is wise, faithful, wealthy, and always tells the truth. The other is foolish, wicked, squanders money and cannot tell the truth. He can have either woman but he must chose by asking only one question. What question should they ask to decide which woman is which? Think about it. Remember one will be lying and the other telling the truth but you don’t know who is who.

Riddles come in many different forms. Some are straight forward like the one I just mentioned and others are simply a collection of happenings that just don’t make sense. Take this week’s sermon for instance. I am working today (Sunday) so we went to the Saturday evening service. The regular preacher is out of town so we had a substitute. I have never heard this preacher before so I had no preconceived notions about him.

The service was about Jesus teaching in the temple and how he was such a great speaker. Yet this preacher was not a very good speaker. I struggled to gain meaning out of what he was saying. In fact at one point I was concentrating so deeply that my wife nudged me and asked if I was ok. He was going over one of my favorite verses; John 8; 32 but it did little for me to hear him reading it. He talked about how people change their actions but not how they truly feel inside in response to things that happen in their lives. He talked about the woman who was brought into the temple for Jesus to judge and how Jesus said for the one who was without sin to be the first judge of her. All good verses but I got nothing. Usually I get something out of the service but for some reason I felt nothing. Nothing at all. So I left feeling empty and lost like when I am told a riddle that I just couldn’t figure out. I guess it will come to me.

Well I am working today. I can’t complain. We really can use the money. End of the year bills you know. The ride in this morning went well. Since it is Sunday, traffic was light. That was a good thing since there is still water on some of the roads after the torrential rain we had on Friday. I was able to drive slowly without having someone running up behind me.

I stopped at a gas station on my way to work and got my morning coffee. Another car pulled up about the same time I did but they weren’t going to work, they were coming from a bar just down the street. It was a silver Cadillac with dark tinted windows. There was music playing so loud that I could feel the vibrations shaking my car. Well I guess some would say it was music. It was a rap song and every other word was a curse word. I won’t even repeat what was being said but it was vile.

The driver rolled his window down to toss out a cigarette butt so I got a look inside. There were 3 very large black men inside all sporting flashy jewelry (bling) and all dressed in black and gold. At the same time, someone else was getting out the other side of the car. It was a young girl and I wondered if she were even old enough to be out all night much less in a bar. She hurried inside just in front of me.

She was a very petite girl and she was wearing clothes that most people would consider trashy. Her jeans were tight and very low cut exposing her thong. She had on a halter top that was two sizes too small exposing her stomach and enough cleavage to make a sailor blush. She had a naval ring, lots of other jewelry and had her hair up with a weave in it. Her face was covered with heavy makeup and she was wearing tall spiked heels.

It didn’t take me long to figure out what kind of girl this was. "What a tramp" I said to myself. After she left and while I was paying for my coffee, the cashier made a similar comment and I agreed with her. In a matter of seconds we were able to evaluate this girl and judge her. When I got outside I saw the Cadillac pulling away and I felt bad about what I had just said. I thought; who am I to judge this woman? I am defiantly not without sin. Although I have been trying to change my actions to be a better person, maybe I need some more work on what is inside. And maybe I need to be more knowledgeable of the truth. So much to think about. There is nothing like a good riddle to make you think. I guess it was a good sermon after all.

Have a blessed Sunday,


Jeannie said...

From what I understand, most tramps have been sexually abused. Promiscuity is their way of acting out - it's how they identify themselves because of the abuse. Stats say that a significant number of women have been abused but they don't indicate to what extent - being groped once isn't quite the same as rape or incest and some will have a good support system so not all will act out.

We can't help but judge people - it's our reaction to who we think they are that matters.

Marina said...

I have found myself in sistuations like that one I know its hard not too judge but what I always say is ( maybe the Lord put these person before me of these one moment just to lift them up in prayer so I do I say " Lord Bless these person and bring them the right people to minister to them " ) just a simple quite prayer you never know how that person could be feeling on the inside.
thanks for sharing you have a nice day. marina

Janice Thomson said...

Excellent post Greg - a good reminder about how easily we judge people without even realizing -yet we know nothing about them or their lives. This ripple effect of judging affects all areas of our lives and we find ourselves judging everything that comes our way - such as bad or good events. Sometimes it is weeks, months and even years before we learn what we judged as bad was actually a good thing - or vice-versa. Thanks for this great and much needed reminder.

Scarlet said...

We do this all the time, don't we? I try not to be judgmental, but if I'm not saying it out loud, I'm probably thinking it...which is why I'm more forgiving now when I hear someone say something offensive. Did he/she really mean it that way?

This was a good, thought provoking post...especially for those of us who didn't make it to church this weekend. Nice job, Greg!

Happy Sunday...even if you are at work. :)

skoots1mom said...

no coincidences there...isn't it interesting how you'll encounter the sermon after you've heard it??!!
I love God's creativity...he brought that home, didn't He?! I get angry when I see young people so driven by the world...then I hurt for them for the same reasons...
may we begin by praying, may we then step forward to help when we can.
good post!!

hope your voting line isn't too long...thanks for coming by!

Kim said...

What a good, thought-provoking post Greg! Thank you for reminding us that we do judge all too quickly. I'm guilty of thinking judgementally, but in God's eyes, it's all the same. Lord, help me to see others through YOUR eyes.

Celticspirit said...

Good Post Greg! I try really hard not to judge...then I realized that I judged those uncaring parents in my last post in my blog. I try not to judge when someone comes to my register and pays with food stamps and then tells me how they are getting satellite for their home. I tried not to judge when the older man said to the young boy...if you crack those eggs I'll be forced to crack your head. Stuff like this makes me mad ! I try to tell myself that maybe they are having a bad day and I don't know what they're going through but's very difficult.

Chatty Kelly said...

Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. (1 Sam 16:7)

If you looked at my you'd think me a nice upstanding young (okay middle aged, maybe) woman. Of course you didn't see me at home screaming at my kids or being a jerk to my husband. (yes, me, a Christian).

Undoubtedly one of the men sitting near you at church is addicted to porn, and his wife cries herself to sleep on a regular basis.

Someone else at church is an alcoholic or drug addict.

The only difference in this girl, is she wasn't hiding it. And if she came to church next Sunday, would she be accepted? As is. 'Cause God is ready to accept her right now. That's why I love Him...while we were still sinners Christ died for us. THEN we can try to turn our lives around through him.

I love what how you applied what you learned in church within 24 hours. May we all be blessed enough to do so!

Renie Burghardt said...

As hard as it sometimes is, I try not to judge others by appearance. Great blog, Greg C. I will visit again to read more. Thank you for visiting my humble blog.


Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

What a great post, Greg.

As a woman, my first reaction to seeing a girl like that is usually a hurt heart for what kind of circumstances lead her into that lifestyle.

It's usually with men that I have more of a tendancy to judge: What is he up to? He looks dangerous. He looks like he's up to no good. There seems to be a very delicate balance between being cautious and being judgemental.

But I do love, love, LOVE it when God uses something that seems mundane to speak very loudly to us.

Did I mention that I really enjoyed this post?

Becky said...

My pastor also talked about the woman being brought before Jesus in the temple too. Makes me think twice about my own life and what I think of others. They need our prayer... not our judgment.

Sharon said...

What a great post, and one worth pondering for the day. I know everyone including myself have a hard time trying not to Judge, yes who are we to judge, I know I cannot throw the first rock, but it is a issue that I have been working very hard on, trying to correct myself. I am getting better everyday, praise God!

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

Funny how those lessons always come back one way or the other.....I love when that happens!

Susan Kelly Skitt said...

God's Word will never return unto Him void, another words, it's not so much the eloquent way someone speaks words, but the Word itself that speaks volumes, is it not my friend?

What a great life illustration. Thanks for sharing. Truly Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost. I am so glad to be a sinner saved by His grace. I don't deserve it, but I am glad for His everlasting mercy and grace.

Have a great day and don't forget to stop on by my site today for some great tips to simplify the holidays!

Katherine Aucoin said...

Your post is so powerful. My husband and I had a similar discussion yesterday. We stopped to get a biscuit before my daughter's soccer game and the guy waiting on us was obviously gay. My husband passed judgement and I told him so what, live and let live and let God judge.

Brooke said...

Hi Greg,
When I go to church and see someone dressed inappropriately, kind of what you described...I have to STOP and say, "I don't know what this person is going through" "I am no one to judge her clothing...maybe this was her upbringing and she doesn't know any better" This was a great post. Have a blessed day!

Sandy said...

Wow, interesting post. Makes you wonder why the young girl took this path. Sad. I too make these snap first impressions and probably people do about a few of my sons who have tattoos (one has sleeves, the whole arm)...they look mean and someone you would side step if you met them walking down the street. But they are good guys and good fathers. I always remember that when I see others that I want to label before I know who they are.

Shellmo said...

Great post today. Sometimes it's so hard not to judge when you see what someone is wearing - that outfit sounded like that lady did not have respect for herself and this was the message she was presenting to the world. I agree w/ jeannie - most of these woman have been abused.

Jamie Dawn said...

Riddles are so interesting. They make us use brain cells we don't usually use.


You are right that we should not be quick to judge others, especially if that judgment is negative.
But, I don't think it is wrong to form an opinion or to use discernment after having gathered facts.
We can't judge a book by its cover, but we CAN judge a book by its contents.
The more info we have about a person, the better we know them.

I'm going to discuss that riddle about the man with two daughters with my family. That's a good one.

God's girl said...

Wow! Very thought-provoking post. Speechless...

I'm not sure how I made it to your blog, but glad I did. I like your writing style, and transparency. May God bless you and your "future book".

Wanda said...

Boy Greg ~~ You have hit on something we all are prone to do, and without even thinking.

Your readers have given such wonderful comments... I loved reading each of them.

You have a good ministry here, Greg.

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