Do you know the love song that goes, “I was looking for love in all the wrong places…?”
We get two newspapers every day; one has Dear Abby and the other carries Ask Amy. As I said yesterday, I often see something about God, or the results of not having God in our lives, in the newspapers. These two columns certainly do not disappoint when looking for such inspiration.
Between the two of these this morning I read about:
1. A woman who has had the same boyfriend for 13 years (get off the pot already!) is mortified because he called her a bad word in the heat of an argument. He apologized, but she just can’t let go of the pain;
2. A widower is too attracted to online porn and is wants to know if he is spending too much time looking at it;
3. A woman who eats lunch often with a co-worker told the person not to drink and drive and that person got upset and defended herself, telling the woman it’s none of her business. Now the woman is so upset and so disrespectful of the other woman she doesn’t think she can eat lunch with her anymore.
Oy! What is wrong with these people? Didn’t they ever hear about forgiveness? The woman who has a boyfriend for 13 years? Commit already, or get someone who will. And in 13 years this is the first time he said something hurtful. The word he used is the term for a female dog, and he apologized later. I can tell you, in the real world, calling a woman a B**ch is nowhere near some of the things I used to say when I was not a Believer, and I got back the same. You’re mad, you’re in a heated argument, you’re a stupid, self-centered egocentric human being who is born into sin, and you say something hurtful because you feel attacked, too. When things calm down, you regret what you said and you apologize. This happened what? Once? In 13 years? And the woman is devastated? C’mon, grow up! No wonder you’re 13 years into this relationship and you aren’t even engaged. If I was the guy and I saw this, I would be thinking what other small and relatively insignificant things might I accidentally or unknowingly do that are pretty much harmless, but will throw this woman into a fit of angst that she can’t get over? Time to move on before I waste any more time here.
The widower that thinks he is online too much. The answer given was pretty much on the spot- if you think you’re spending too much time online, you are. He starts by saying he still has a healthy sex drive- there’s not much about pornography that is “healthy”. Get out into the world, help other people instead of watching people sell their bodies and do perverted things.
Finally, this woman who is (my guess) probably too much about her own opinion, so much so that she feels she is allowed to tell another adult that she shouldn’t do something. Now, in all fairness, maybe she presented herself in a nice and caring way. It is good to be concerned about the health of others, and drinking and driving (the woman doing this was deaf, which makes it even worse) is a bad idea, but when you tell someone they shouldn’t be doing something, and they become defensive and tell you to mind your own business (whether nicely or straight-out), you probably should. You made your feelings known, and they were rejected. People have a right to reject your opinion; it’s not a put-down, and it certainly isn’t reason to reject them totally, as this woman seems to suggest she wants to do now. This has pridefulness written all over it, on both sides. The unstoppable force has met an immovable object, so what do you do? You change course. You say to yourself, “I don’t think what she does is right or safe, I told her, and she doesn’t want to hear it. Let’s talk about something else.” That’s how you handle it- you said your piece, it was heard and rejected, you did what you wanted, she did what she wanted, it’s over: now, let’s eat.
Why do I read this stuff? Often I start reading it, then I just have to stop. I get too upset and frustrated with the total lack of God in people’s lives, and often really angry at the ones who write in how they are “God-fearing” and have been “good Christians” all their lives, then complain about someone in a way that shows pridefulness, no desire to be understanding, and a total lack of compassion. They are the ones who make it hard for the rest of us to demonstrate God’s love and goodness (BTW…no one is “good.” Yeshua said that, and if the Son of Man, who is also the Son of God, is adamant that no one, not even Himself, is good- only God is good- then no one should call themselves a “good” anything!)
These people show us how horrible life is without God. How do I know they aren’t Believers? I don’t. They may be Believers, or not. They may practice a religion, or they may be Atheists. In any case, if they aren’t asking God for guidance, they are going to the wrong place for advice.
That’s what the title for this Drash is about- going to the wrong place for answers. The advice columnists mean well and do serve a good purpose most of the time. I have nothing against them. However, go to them and you will only get worldly advice. You will be told you need to get therapy (this is a standard answer; I think they must have family in the mental health business) and they are willing to say, now and then, to get involved in activities where they worship. They will even, on occasion, recommend talking to someone the person trusts, like a religious leader. But for the most part, their advice will be politically correct. I have been reading these articles for a long time and cannot remember once Abby or Amy or Miss Manners or anyone ever saying that the writer needs to get more of God in their life.
When we have issues with our partners, our family, our boss, co-workers, whoever, we need to see, first and foremost, what God says. God is the ultimate source of what we should do, how we should act, how we should treat others, and (I think most important) how we should act when others don’t treat us as we would treat them. I don’t know if you agree or not, but I think one of the most important, and difficult commandments God gives us, is to forgive those who hurt us. We aren’t commanded to ask forgiveness, but we are commanded to forgive. It seems to me God is more interested in how we react to being sinned against than He is about when we sin. Sin isn’t good, no way! But it seems to me God really wants to see what we do when we are the “damaged party”; like that is the true litmus test to show how humble and spirit-filled we are. The Besorah (Good News) talks about when Yeshua was led to slaughter, how He didn’t say a word against those that were wrongfully accusing Him. I’m sure there are many reasons why, but one reason has to be that He was humble and accepted being wronged before He would assail at His accusers. He could have easily used His wisdom and the Ruach to not only defeat the accusations, but totally destroy the people. After all, in the End Days, He will utterly defeat the Enemy with no more than a word from His mouth.
But He remained silent, He remained humble and did not return evil for evil.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t stand up for our rights, but we need to think , case by case, if our rights as a human being under a legal system, or within a cultural environment, are more important than the way God wants us to act. And when we aren’t sure about how to react to a perceived wrong done against us, we should go to God first, then again, and lastly we should go back to God. If we can’t get the right answer from God, we need to listen better. Yes, go to your Pastor, Priest, Rabbi, Minister, go to people you worship with and know who have shown you they are Godly and know the Word of God. Remember the advice that Yacov (James) gave: Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Listen to people as compassionately as you want those people to talk to you. But let God give you the answer.
Next time you feel like going to Dear Abby, go to Dear Abba, instead.