I am a newspaper publisher in a small Northwest Iowa community who is here to confess that I rarely read, watch or listen to the national news anymore. The entire scene rather sickens me and tends to be a sad commentary on who we are as a people.
Early this week the news broke of Tiger Woods having a car accident near his palatial mansion in Windemere, FL. As the details of the story continue to unfold it would appear that Woods has a number of issues going on in his life that are rather unfortunate and a cause of a great deal of pain in his inner circle.
I haven't paid any attention to this situation because I seem to have enough issues in my life to contend with to not feel the need to enter into his. I know there was a time in my life when I did and I found it somehow beneficial for me to discuss with other people who know absolutely nothing about the situation.
Having steered clear of this mess, intentionally, I was rather bothered yesterday afternoon when the emails began popping up of the supposed "Woods Family Christmas" card depicting a beaten up Tiger standing next to his golf club-wielding wife.
Ugghhh! I suspect that the late night talk show hosts, who are hardly exempt for issues in their own lives, are having a field day with this as well.
As I continue in my quest to experience grace and peace in this life I am left beaten up by this news and the worlds reaction to it. I am also bothered by the fight I learned of that took place in our school this week.
Two young men got into a rumble. The one comes from an incredibly dysfunctional home. The other is Hispanic. They fight because the Hispanic calls the other boy "Stinky," the other boy calls the Hispanic boy "Beaner" and a fist-fight later the boys are on three-day out of school suspension.
Then there is the ex-con who has been arrested for a string of burglaries in the area and appears headed back inside, leaving his wife and family behind.
There is so much negativity and so much evil at work all around us, and so often those seemingly unaffected seem to find it appropriate to talk about or comment on these situations like a bunch of wolves.
Jesus Christ came into this world so that we might have life and have it to the full - that everyone might have it to the full. Even people like Tiger, my friend the ex-con and these fighting youngsters.
John 10:7-12 reads: Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.
In all of these earthly situations, the thief has come to steal and kill and destroy. The wolf prowls around waiting for someone to destroy but Jesus came that we may have life and have it to the full!
As a follower of Christ, it is the desire of my heart to be more and more like Jesus so that I might have life to the full. I know that I fail miserably in so many ways every day, but I pray that I am not a wolf in these situations.
I pray also that I am not a viper.
Matthew 12:34 says: "You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks."
Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks! If telling jokes about Tiger, mocking individuals of different ethnic and/or social standing, or gossiping about any thing similar is the overflow of our hearts - well, that is why I don't watch the news, I guess!
This is rampant in the world, and in the church, too! This need to make light of someone else's issues and transgressions to somehow prop ourselves up to look better is everywhere and is not what Jesus wants for his people.
Perhaps I don't have a sense of what is funny and what isn't any more? Perhaps I have seen enough pain, suffering and agony to last a lifetime? I don't know, but I don't think people desiring to follow Jesus ought to enter in this territory.
"All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time." I Peter 5: 5-6
Readers of this blog know that I love music. Jason Upton's prophetic music is some that really speaks to me. His song "Glory Come Down" hits me between the eyes on this point.
"The church is sick, in need of God alone" it says. "People, we must seek his face. If we'll turn from our unrighteousness, he'll forgive our evil ways."
Check out the video here.
It is time that we seek His face, isn't it? There is so much hurt and pain in this world. I pray for eyes to see those who are hurting. I ask you, Jesus, for ears to hear their pain and anguish; and I pray for hearts to be open to your leading in this area. I pray, Jesus, that we humble ourselves before you, and one another, as we walk through this life together.
"The church is sick and in need of God alone!" The world is sick and in need of God alone, friends, that is why he sent His son - to save the Tiger's and to fend off the wolves and vipers.
Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. Jude 2:2
Grace and Peace