One day as I was observing how wisdom fares on this earth, I saw something that made me sit up and take notice. There was a small town with only a few people in it. A strong king came and mounted an attack, building trenches and attack posts around it. There was a poor but wise man in that town whose wisdom saved the town, but he was promptly forgotten. (He was only a poor man, after all.)
All the same, I still say that wisdom is better than muscle, even though the wise poor man was treated with contempt and soon forgotten.
The quiet words of the wise are more effective than the ranting of a king of fools.
Wisdom is better than warheads, but one hothead can ruin the good earth. -Ecclesiastes 9:13-18 MSG
I watched “Karate Kid II” with my family the other night. I’ve seen the movie so many times that, even though it had been years since my last view, I can recite certain parts without effort. Toward the end, Sato sent his peons to destroy the gardens of some of the villagers. It was a personal attack on their livelihood and was meant to provoke Mr. Miyagi into the long awaited duel with Sato. These attacks came a couple more times because Mr. Miyagi refused to fight his friend. Finally, Sato brought a bull dozer to the village and told Mr. Miyagi that if he didn’t fight, he would destroy the whole village.
Mr. Miyagi agreed to a midnight showdown, but only to save the village. While the bull dozer did some damage, the village farmers were heart broken. Women were crying and everyone was afraid. As I watched, I remembered what happened the night of the scheduled fight. There was a huge hurricane that destroyed the village anyway.
There is a parallel to real life that I found interesting. God continually tells us to not worry about our circumstances. He tells us that He’s in control, so much so, that we can offer our good cheek when the other has been pummeled. Entire religious groups are united under the “no contest” rule of engagement. You don’t fight evil with evil, you don’t return violence with violence. Mr. Miyagi could have escorted Sato to a garden that he forgot. Why? Because what God did that night would have made Sato’s attack useless.
Philosophers, Solomon included, have reasoned themselves into stoicism. Not because what happens doesn’t matter, but because our emotional outbursts do nothing but add to the damage. Wisdom comes from understanding that God is sovereign. If the villagers would have fought back and even killed some of the people who were destroying their farms, they would have won nothing. The storm, entirely in God’s control, would have impugned their efforts and made them no better than the instigated evil. That’s why calm patience and faith based assurance is better than freaking out and striking back.
I believe in a supernatural entity that wants to get you to focus on the shortcomings of another for the soul-killing purpose of removing your focus from Jesus. There is plenty to distract you from the truth of the Gospel. Self-righteous vengeance is only one of them. It’s especially sweet for the enemy of Jesus when you can do his bidding in the name of God.
Evil isn’t just after the one who does it. It’s after the one it’s committed against. It tries to draw you into a fight that you have no part being in.
The best way to fight the wrong done to you is to forgive it and refuse to let it determine your steps.
Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me. Redeem me from man’s oppression, that I may keep your precepts.-Psalm 119:133-134 ESV
Do you have a story about when you freaked out, or could have freaked out, only to learn that the situation was already taken care of and freaking out was unessesary??