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Jump-Start Your Day

Tuesday, May 15th, '18

All rights reserved © message by Kris Jackson

 

PRICKLY PEOPLE

"Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how to answer each one" (Colossians 4:6)

 

Some wit concluded that Christians are like porcupines, they have plenty of good points but you can't get close to them. Let's learn a new zoological term today, erinaceous. It has to do with the hedgehog family marked by bristly quill-covered hides. Hedgehogs normally stay clear of downtown but we've all encountered some at church, work or on the street corner. The old lament is, "Men...you can't live with 'em and you can't live without 'em". Guys can be hedgehogs but both sexes produce their share of quills. Ladies, they say, have overies, meaning they tend to overreach, overreact, overeat and over-repeat. People...we need each other then needle each other. Hug each other then bug each other. One doesn't have to be pugnacious to be erinaceous. God knows what He has to work with. The Old Testament Tabernacle furnishings were made from acacia wood, a thorn-covered tree that had to be shaved of its barbs before it could be of any use. With all the individual personalities, hang-ups and idiosyncrasies, we couldn't sit on the same pews together were it not for God's grace. So He coats prickly people with white linen, the texture of silk.

 

Of course, we have a role to play as well. The Bible gives a whole kit of instructions, verbs like forgive, submit, yield, turn the other cheek, bless, curse not, be of the same mind and so forth. The redemption issue is settled. Jesus wore the crown of thorns on His brow, that is, He took the punishment for all sharp words, sharp looks and sharp judgments. If someone has been sharp with you forgive it because He bore your hurt. That frees us to free others. Sure, we will still butt heads occasionally and there will be jockeying for position. But we have to learn to disagree without being disagreeable. The reason the Shepherd anoints our heads with oil is simple. Sheep are going to butt heads but with a good coat of oil no one gets hurt. Foreheads slip right off each other. Isn't that...slick?

 

We can't excuse being prickly people just because it is our nature. One "expert" tailor acted crabby to me the other day and wouldn't stop so I gathered my un-hemmed trousers and canceled the order. The assistant said, "She is an expert. You'll be old and crabby one day too". That may or may not be, but I sure won't assume customers' business just because I'm an old crabby expert. Paul said, "If it is possible," live at peace with all men (Romans 12:18). My faith perhaps was weak, but I didn't see much "possible" there. If she didn't ascribe to the old theory that the customer is always right at least she could acknowledge that the customer is the one paying the bills. The most forbidden fruit in the Garden is the crab apple (though I have eaten them too). Tact is the ability to step on someone's toes without scuffing up his shine. The believer's speech is to "always be with grace, seasoned with salt..." If we have a quarrel against another we are to forgive as Christ forgave us (Colossians 3:13). But that doesn't mean we still have to give the other person our tailoring dollars. Erinaceous people tend to treat all men equal...they simple don't like anybody. But Jesus gives us a new capacity to love. He calls us sheep not porcupines and along with the position He gives the power, the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, etc.


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