Is it my imagination or does the general populace seem a little less educated these days? I understand the need for ridiculous warning labels in our litigious society, like the one I once saw on a stroller that said “Do not close stroller with child inside” or the “Caution, Hot!” warnings on coffee cups. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Studies. I’ve read the case-law and I get the need despite how dumb it may seem to most. Still, there are some things I find hard to understand. For example, this sign is posted in the waiting room at my pediatrician’s office.
The fact that this has happened frequently enough to warrant signage is baffling! Really?! I would think a little bit of common sense would kick in here, but we live in a world fallen. Sensibility has been lost to either convenience or blindness. People, without thinking, follow whatever desire or instruction that seems right to them in the moment. “There’s a way that seems right unto a man…” Proverbs 14:12
Some of this lack of sense can seep into our spiritual lives as well. It’s usually hard to see when it’s you who’s senseless but unfortunately, those around you see it clearly. The saddest example of this, in my opinion, are those people you meet who are overflowing with potential. You see them destined for greatness, yet there is something in their life that they always return to…that habit they just can’t kick or that stronghold and insecurity that holds them captive time and time again. You want to shake them and convince them that their destiny is so much better than the misery they continually choose. You weep for them every time they run back down the same old path. Take another lap around the mountain, Moses. We don’t have this one figured out just yet.
When they are on, they are on! Joy exudes from them like sunshine warming the summer sky. Their smiles are contagious, their victories triumphant. Then it all starts unraveling and they are gone again. Somehow, they forget that the only joy and peace they’ve ever known was in Him. They think if they dabble a little with this or that, they won’t end up right where they always do. Then they are on the bottom once again asking what went wrong. Common sense lost at the mercy of lust and desire.
Then there are those who desire all the benefits or God without the willingness to actually follow His precepts. This is particularly annoying to me. They can’t understand why they are broke or sick or why everything goes wrong for them, yet they are self-seeking and fully committed to do things their own way. God usually doesn’t bless the “my way” approach. When we follow Him, it works out so much better.
Which leads me another category of senselessness, the Pharisees who judge every unpleasant thing to be a result of wrongdoing or sin on the part of the distressed party. Sometimes this is the case but not always. I don’t believe that every sniffle or backache is directly a result of my personal sin. I don’t believe death is always the result of sin. Yes, sometimes it can be. The Bible is full of sowing and reaping. However, anyone who holds strictly to this philosophy has never read the book of Job. Job was a godly man who suffered greatly. His suffering was not a result of his sin though his friends tried to insist it was. Sometimes suffering happens. We should be concentrating on what God wants to do in our lives through our sufferings rather than whining and balking against it.
And let’s talk about death. Death is a part of life. Yes, it is a result of original sin. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—” Romans 5:12. We act as if death is the ultimate penalty, as if God is somehow less faithful when death occurs. This is ludicrous! Hebrews 9:27 says that it is appointed for men to die. We don’t even need that scripture to prove this to us. One out of one is going to die. Those are not the best odds. We know this and if we are believers, this shouldn’t be considered a bad thing. Eternity with the most high God sounds pretty good to me. Why do we complain about it? I’m missing something. Our lives here on Earth are but a vapor. We need to start thinking a little more broadly. Focus on what matters, the eternal, not the temporal. Just common sense.
There is a lot of happy-go-lucky, everything should be rosy and nicey nice all of the time, theology out there. It’s fun to hear. The blessings of God are awesome!!! Spiritual common sense tells us to find a little balance. Instead of blaming God when things go wrong, how about finding a little perspective. First we should examine ourselves and see if we are merely reaping something we’ve sown.
Whatever the reason, common sense tells us to examine the nature of God – that His plans are to prosper us, to give us a hope and a future (Jer. 28:11). I hope that in everything I can trust Him.
One last rant and I will stop. Common sense should tell us that we will never reach the lost with the love of Christ by bullying them and being just plain mean. Common sense reads the Bible and sees that God calls us to love others, particularly the lost. Love doesn’t condemn, love doesn’t avoid, love thinks the best of others. I remember someone once telling me I should not associate with sinners because they would drag me down. That is absurd! I shouldn’t compromise my faith EVER, but Jesus diligently sought out the lost.
When Christians can say that they don’t have any ‘unsaved’ friends, I cringe. What are we doing if we are not actively loving others. Loving your neighbor doesn’t mean being nice and putting on a plastic smile when you see a stranger. Loving your neighbor means laying down your life for another, getting your hands a little dirty and finding out how you can serve another person, having people over on a Friday night when you’re tired, spending an hour on the phone with a friend whose husband disappeared again, being willing to be real. We are called to love!
Furthermore, when Jesus or Paul condemned sin in the Bible, they were talking to the church or the religious people of the day. They condemned sin in the lives of believers! You will not find an instance where Christ condemned a non-believer. He showed them love and mercy. He brought them into relationship with himself. Paul talks in Ephesians 5 about not even associating with believers who were actively involved in sin. He is addressing believers here. Common sense says we don’t condemn sin outside the church while justifying it inside the church.
Phew, I can breathe now. 🙂 What about you? Are there areas you notice where we could use a little more spiritual common sense?