Usually I get my BLOG topics from something I’ve read or heard the previous week. This week I actually asked God to give me a dream about what I should write about. And I had a dream last night – so, hey, why not?
I was in a classroom – seemed like it was a college philosophy class or something similar. The professor said he wanted each student to describe how we handled challenges in our lives. He emphasized there were no wrong answers. One at a time people began standing up and talking about themselves. I only remember the last two. One said when they heard something a person said that they didn’t like or that offended them, they’d blast them back – not holding anything back. They said it was a great release. Everyone in the class applauded and the professor smiled. The next person said they had several addictions they dealt with, like alcohol, pornography and food. They said their approach was to face them head-on, to prove that they could defeat them – keep them in a closet where they could reach them, to prove to themselves that they wouldn’t touch them. Everyone in the class applauded and the professor smiled.
At that point the professor said that’s all the time we had, and the class stood up to leave. I stood up and began speaking over the commotion. It died down. “I used to think it was necessary to respond to everything that offended me. But I found it only built walls between me and the other person. Now I hold my tongue until I can talk to them calmly. And I tried to face my addictions head-on. But I found if I kept a chocolate bar in the pantry – I’d eventually eat it. If I kept a picture of a naked woman in a drawer, I’d eventually open that drawer. I never had an alcohol problem; but if I did, I don’t think I could trust myself keeping a bottle of booze where I could reach it. I have to avoid the thing that’s bothered me in the past. I have to keep it out of my house.”
No one applauded my remarks and they all turned and started walking out the door. As I passed the professor, he didn’t say anything, but didn’t seem happy. I said, “I’m going to fail this class, aren’t I?” And I woke up.
I’m sure I know the source of the world philosophies espoused by the students in my dream. I don’t typically watch day-time talk shows; but I admit that, last year when my wife and I were babysitting my daughter’s twins while she was teaching, we often had the TV on and caught several such as Hallmark’s Home and Garden show, the Marie Osmond show and Steve Harvey. Frequent guest were often so-called experts on various problem resolution subjects, and rarely did anything they say align with God’s Word. In my dream I didn’t quote the Bible, nor did I say, “Thus saith the Lord,” but, as I meditate on it, in essence that’s what I was doing. And I thank God for that firm foundation.
Man’s wisdom, which is typically what is espoused by the people that get the largest audiences just won’t cut it.
Experts say, stand up and defend yourself when you are offended by someone’s words. Whereas the apostle Peter said, “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” In other words, defend the Word of God, and not yourself. St. Paul advised us to “avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.” James added that with the same tongue “we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” And wise King Solomon said: “A quick-tempered man acts foolishly,… but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.”
Experts say, face your troubles head-on in your own strength. But Paul said, “When I am weak, then I am strong”, in Christ, not in his own strength. He advised his young friend Timothy, “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” And God spoke to Paul and told him: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Paul’s advice to the Philippian church was, “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” It’s just foolishness to face any trouble in your own strength or to hang onto friends, possessions and habits that have been the source of your past bad behaviors.
I’ve just talked about two simple examples of the “counseling” day-time TV audiences feast on every day, and how it usually conflicts with the written Word of God. Men and women who are “in the world” will always turn to the guidance of the world, because it tickles their fancy. It “seems” right. Christians ought not be so foolish. We are responsible for every word we allow to feed our minds.