July 13, 2017
Volume 21, Number 24
If you’re a dog, anyone who tosses you a meatball is your friend, even if they are a mail carrier. A dog in Madison County, Alabama might now disagree with that statement. Missy, the dog in question, had been the recipient of such tasty treats by Susanna Burhans. No explanation was given in news reports for why Ms. Burhans did this.
Missy’s owner, however, was suspicious, and took her to the veterinarian to be checked out. An X-ray revealed several nails in the dog’s stomach. One meatball still lying beside the mailbox was found to be laced with nails. The mail carrier was arrested, and suspended from her duties until more facts are uncovered.
For several years I volunteered to deliver hot meals to elderly folks, a community service offered in several places. I can vouch for the anxiety a barking dog can evoke; who knows what that dog will do when you step into the yard? But is this the way to deal with such a dog? (Ms. Burhans has not yet been convicted of these charges.)
No one has ever tossed me a delicious (but deadly) meatball in this way, but how often are deceptive words tossed about? On the surface they seem delicious; they may stroke our egos powerfully. Look inside them, however, and you may see “nails”.
David felt the betrayal of such flattery. In Psalm 5:8,9 he prayed: “Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make Your way straight before my face. For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is destruction; their throat is an open tomb; they flatter with their tongue.” The words were delicious to the ear, but they had been stewed in malicious hatred!
In New Testament days it was an honor to be called “Rabbi”. Jesus condemned some of the Pharisees and scribes of His day who “love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi'” (Matthew 23:6,7). It was generally regarded as a sign of honor.
This delicious greeting was filled with deceit on one infamous occasion. Matthew recorded Judas’ betrayal of the Savior: “Immediately [Judas] went up to Jesus and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed Him” (Matthew 26:49). Jesus wasn’t fooled; He saw the nails sticking out. His question to Judas must have felt like nails: “Friend, why have you come?” (Matthew 26:50).
Christians are to live by a higher standard: “Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another” (Ephesians 4:25). Or, as Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’, and your ‘No’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37).
Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.
Copyright, 2017, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).
“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.
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