He jumped in too early. A white policeman arrested a prominent black professor, and eager journalists needled President Obama to answer before he knew all the facts. He misspoke. Perhaps a lingering frustration gave birth to an unfortunate vetting. That silence can be golden is an understatement for a man besieged by microphones. Our society is sensitive to racial harmony—and should we be surprised, given that our melting pot is a degree away from a boiling kettle!
Jeremiah 37:11-14--When the Chaldean army withdrew from Jerusalem because of Pharaoh’s army, Jeremiah started to leave Jerusalem to go to the land of Benjamin to claim his portion there among the people. But when he was at the Benjamin Gate, an officer of the guard was there, whose name was Irijah son of Shelemiah, son of Hananiah, and he apprehended Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “You are deserting to the Chaldeans.”
“That’s a lie,” Jeremiah replied. “I am not deserting to the Chaldeans!” Irijah would not listen to him but apprehended Jeremiah and took him to the officials.
All he was trying to do was claim property he bought in Anathoth from his cousin Hanamel; land he spent 17 shekels of silver to buy. But Irijah was convinced that Jeremiah, the prophet of doom, was making an opportune break to join the Chaldean enemy. Despite Jeremiah’s pleas of innocence, he was beaten and thrown in the dungeon.
Scandals are either real or falsely perceived. We assign fault and rather than search for the underlying truth or cause of the problem, we look for ropes and cry for a hanging. We see disgrace and disregard grace. We interpret facts through human lens often disturbingly marked as nearsighted.
Note what Jesus did when the religious leaders brought before Him a woman caught in the act of committing adultery. She was dripping in scandal. But this was an outrage of opportunity. The scribes and Pharisees cleverly hoped the Messiah would collaborate with Moses and issue the call for rocks. They really didn’t care to stone the gal—adultery was fairly common. They knew it was against the Roman law to put a person to death. This was their opportunity to spread dishonor from a loose lady to the Son of Man they hoped to permanently tarnish. All they needed was for Him to issue a decree. But He ignored their question until their persistent nagging reached His “enough.”He stood up and uttered those famous words, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).
Find the truth before you grab your gun. Let time elapse before you hastily speak words that may ring in the sky like some rapacious thunder. Pray and then pray some more—for the accused and for discernment. Scandal is not the sister of prudence. There is plenty of sin to go around, may God help us behave like saints for a change.
Scandal should be treated as you treat mud on your clothes. If you try and deal with it while it is wet, you rub the mud into the texture, but if you leave it till it is dry you can flick it off with a touch, it is gone without a trace. Leave scandal alone, never touch it.—Oswald Chambers in Studies in the Sermon on the Mount
©2009 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)