23 It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.
I think most of us can think of times in our lives when we participated in ungodly behaviors for the fun of it. Especially during younger years.
As we get a little older, and hopefully a little wiser by the grace of God, we realize how immature that kind of mindset is. We have lived long enough to see what ungodly lifestyle brings: destruction of self and others.
If we will remember what it was like to be enthralled with the foolishness of youth, that for many of us continued well into adult years before we became Christians, then we can find some patience and compassion for those who also live ungodly lives for the fun of it.
We would be wise to remember what Jesus did for us, how we are not one bit better than the “foolish” and how we ourselves have been very foolish—and even now—after having received the grace and mercy of God through the sacrifice of Jesus, how foolish we can be when we lose patience with others.
There is a cultural norm that encourages many to live ungodly, even extremely wickedly, because it is fun to do so. For many, a rebellions lifestyle is more than fun—it is vengeance against God and against Christians.
We need to rise above this.
I was once a Christian who did not like Christians much. Some of the reasons I almost lost faith was because of the fraction among believers, self-righteous hypocrisy, and money-grubbing preachers. I know how it feels to want to rebel. By the grace of God, I was drawn into seeking Jesus earnestly, and not a moment too soon.
I am almost certain that if He had not intervened just when He did, I would be dead. If not physically, then spiritually as one who denied the faith and went on to worship all of the social ideologies of the day that I am now, by the grace of God, able to see for the destruction they bring.
How has Jesus kept you from being swept away by deception? How has Jesus saved you from the grave? How much more do you have to look forward to in His everlasting Kingdom?
I say all of this because there are many Christians who forget how to handle themselves when dealing with the foolish who do wickedly for the fun of it, or worse yet, as an act of rebellion against God and Christians. I have to be reminded of this too.
First, we need to remember what Jesus did for us and remember that we carry His name, therefore we are held to a higher standard. We should always be more patient with those who do not know Jesus. If we humbly seek the Lord in each situation, He will tell us what to do.
Maybe He tells us to gently speak to the person about their destructive behavior. Maybe we relate by sharing how we were once the same before Jesus saved us.
Maybe He tells us to let the person be and lead by example.
What Jesus will not tell us to do is hate them, use overly harsh and demeaning words, gossip, or in any way harm them. What Jesus will not do is tell us to placate them, encourage and support their sin, or worse yet praise them for it.
You might think of a few hot topics of today that fit this proverb, like a man who sold some controversial shoes and made a Satanic music video. Why did he do this? Is there some compassion to be found? How do we, as stewards of the name of Jesus, respond?
There are many such examples in our culture right now. We have ample opportunity to grow in showing Jesus to this falling nation! How wonderful that we live in a time when the faith is needed and we get to exercise all that God gave us!
However, as Jesus says, “because iniquity will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
We cannot let our love grow cold. We need to remember humility, patience, and the fact that God is in control of all things. Yes. Even the changes in our society. Why might He allow all of this? Could we bear some responsibility?
We will seek Jesus and we will overcome. We will not deny the faith. We will not deny His Name and this includes who He is, what He teaches, and how He expects us to live and represent Him and His Kingdom.
A Kingdom of righteousness will come. A Kingdom of death will come first. We need to know the difference and live the difference. We need to preach the difference.
There is mercy and forgiveness for all who come to Him. There is freedom from hatred, delusion, and self-destruction. There is hope for all who trust in Jesus. We need to show what this hope is about, not forget it as we tear down all who oppose us.
We do not fear. We do not avenge. We do not deny the truth. We do not allow the world to consume us. We seek Jesus for strength. We have faith that He will revive us. We have faith that He can still change hearts. We have faith that vengeance is God’s and He will have it.
As Jesus said about His return, “will I find faith on the earth?”