Friday, January 06, 2017

"Three Little Words"

Genesis 18.15

Sarah lied. She said, ‘I didn’t laugh,’ because she was afraid. But he said, ‘Yes you did; you laughed.’” The Message

Sarah denied the power of God. She “laughed to herself” (Genesis 18.12) upon hearing the news that she, a 90 year old woman, would soon bear a son. When confronted with her unbelief, Sarah denied it. Sarah both doubted God and then lied about it!

The spirit of Sarah lives on. If an angel of the Lord appeared to me and said, “Next year at this time you will be a starter for the Portland Trailblazers,” I’d laugh too. The angel would be right to inquire, “Why did [you] laugh?... Is anything too difficult for the Lord?” (Genesis 18.13-140).

I am preconditioned to quickly deny my doubt. “Who? Me? I didn’t laugh!” I can be dogmatic and insistent in my lie, exactly as Sarah was. I too have be caught between the apparent absurdity of faith and the denial of my unbelief. Like Sarah, we lie to ourselves and others because we are afraid. Afraid to appear wrong. Afraid to be wrong.

We back ourselves into a situational corner and choose to believe our own propaganda. We defend our point of view at all costs, even when we suspect we’re wrong. It becomes less about the issues and more about fear.  The fear of being known as one who make mistakes, fear of disclosing the uncomfortable truth... I could be wrong!

This episode in Sarah’s life inspires me to admit the truth even when it demonstrates my unbelief. Perhaps if Sarah had paused when confronted by the angel, she might have gathered the courage to admit to her laughter and the unbelief it betrayed. Strength of character does not come from being right 100% of the time, but from the regular practice of saying three little words. 

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Seattle Seahawks? Never. But the Oakland Raiders could quite possibly use your services.

There's a great scene in the 1970's sitcom: Happy Days where tough guy Fonzie is confronted with the fact that he too falls short of the glory of God. Fonzie tries over and over to say the words, but the best he can do is:

"I was wrrrrrrrrrrrrr." He just couldn't get himself to summon up the courage and the humility to apologize.
(great scene: will see if I can track it down at Hollywood Video or some other outlet.)

Here's my journal entry for Friday:

I love the ongoing conversation between Abraham and God in Chapter 18, verses 22-33. Abraham is concerned that God might "kill the righteousness with the wicked." Yet, in consecutive order, God assures Abraham that for the sake of the fifty, forty five, forty, thirty, twenty and ten, he would have spared the city. Yet later on we read that "all the men from every part of the city of Sodom-both young and old-surrounded the house" and attempted to act in a less than honorable fashion with the male members of the household. Sounds like there were no where near ten righteousness men in Sodom.

I always try to remember this conversation when an otherwise well meaning believer suggests that the flood in New Orleans was punishment by God, or that the natural disaster of the day is God's retribution for an unbelieving world. For the sake of the ten righteous people, (and probably for the sake of one) God will spare an otherwise evil people. Sounds like grace to me.

Dave, I had a great time on both Friday and Sunday morning. As always, I appreciate your biblical insights.

-------CMM

Dave's Bible Blog said...

I love your thoughts. If you could get that copy of the Happy Days episode where Fonzie can't get the "I was wrong" words out... that would be hilarious to use in Word Traveler on a Sunday in the future.

Thanks, CMM.

Dave