“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people (I Timothy 2:5,6a).”
What’s wrong with this picture? A headline from today’s newspaper reads: “Happiest Places Sometimes Have Highest Suicide Rates”.
Utah, for example, is ranked number 1 for people who have a high sense of well being, yet it is ranked high in suicides, coming in at number 9. On the othr hand, New York is ranked number 45 in the area of well being, but even lower when it comes to people taking their own lives.
The people who did the research theorize that the results could be due to unhappy people offing themselves because they become even more miserable living around content folks. Others say it may be more complicated, suggesting that things like isolation in rural states may contribute to the suicides.
I’ve seen this phenomenon before. I lived in a country which in many surveys is rated the best place to live in earth. Yet, it also ranked at the top in suicides. Go figure.
While such studies are interesting I suppose, they really don’t mean much in day to day life. There’s more to life than being happy, for example.
For the Christian, what is more important is loving and being loved. The apostle Paul pointed this out, rebuking the Ephesians for engaging in trivial pursuits instead of moving God’s plan ahead (I Timothy 1:3-7).
Paul noted that there were some requisite inner characteristics for a person to engage in loving others. He outlined these attributes as a “pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith (I Timothy 1:5)”.
One of the problems with the Ephesian lovers of minutiae was that they posited themselves as teachers, but didn’t know what they were talking about (I Timothy 1:7). As a result, they looked somewhat foolish when people in the know, like Paul and Timothy, came around.
Sometimes, raising a ruckus is the wrong strategy. I have learned this the hard way.
Once you get a reputation as a rabblerouser, especially over non-essentials, it is hard to gain a hearing when things really matter. People interpret your communication through their grid, one based on their previous encounters with you.
I recently had occasion to send out what I thought was a normal report to some people. However, I was shocked when I was told I was being disrespectful.
In reflecting on this, I determined that I had paved the way for this result by some previous unwise written comments. I figure I now have a reputation for dissing people in my communication.
When the people you are dissing happen to be folks with authority, you put yourself in a dangerous position. Paul, the apostle sent from God, jettisoned a couple of men who he determined were abusive with their words.
What God desires instead of reviling communication is an environment of peace. Paul wrote that we should be praying for our authorities, not slamming them (I Timothy 2:1-4, 8).
I saw a comic in the paper this morning which said,”Sometimes it is more important to be nice than to he right.” When it comes to setting an environment whereby the good news of Jesus Christ gets communicated, this should be a mantra.
If I have a comment, concern or issue with people, sometimes it is best to let it lie. I don’t have to go to the mat on everything.
If I want to battle, let it be over the important things in life, like faith, hope and love. The rest I should leave in the hands of my loving Savior Jesus Christ.