In Men in Black 3, the character, Griffin the Archanan, sees time as a “fifth dimensional being”, meaning he experiences all options of time simultaneously, but also as they coalesce into a single history. So, he’s constantly looking around and saying, “Oh no, we’re in this one?” as something random happens.
To an extent, we sort of do that as we experience our days, weeks, months, and years. Last year, we hoped the COVID-19 pandemic was ending. It didn’t. Instead we entered the variant stage with Delta and Omicron. Things improved, but remained unstable.
Welcome to 2022. We’re in this one now. There is little rational support for approaching this year with a sense of peace. Little lends itself to a sense of hope. The circumstances of the humans on this planet seem kind of grim on all sorts of levels, from economic to health to social. What seems to be true is that rough times have come to all, regardless of social or economic standing. And, again, the virus has demonstrated the interconnectedness and interdependence of all humans on this planet.
So, while we’re in this one, here’s a suggestion: cling to Jesus. Wow, who would have thought, right? Forehead slap or slap on the back of the head? You probably want to slap the back of my head. Pretend you did.
I’ve been digging around in Proverbs lately, seeking to ponder riddles and difficult sayings. I ran across these two:
Came pride, and came humiliation; And with humble ones, wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2)
Righteousness of upright ones saves them; And in a desire of ones acting faithless they will be caught. (Proverbs 11:6)
Those are my translations, and I chose to do it that way because I’m looking for what an ancient Hebrew person would have read and what they would have thought. On that track, they break down this way (at least to me):
Pride comes, in the form of the attitude to the reader, or a prideful person they know coming to visit. With the arrival of the pride (or prideful person) comes humiliation. Whether it’s entertaining the prideful person or being prideful, humiliation still comes along for the ride. The lesson I learn is to neither entertain prideful people, nor to entertain pride in myself. But there’s more!
When humility (or humble visitors) come, then we don’t gain exaltation or praise, we gain wisdom. Perhaps the reverse can be said, that if we seek wisdom we discover humility. Either way, entertaining humility (and humble visitors) brings wisdom to you as well.
This is all well and good, but what about the bleak outlook of 2022? How does that lesson help us face the new year? I would be very careful to avoid being prideful in your outlook, or entertaining those who are. The difference between pride and hope/faith can be seen in why someone is hopeful and what they have faith in. Which leads us to the second proverb.
Notice that both upright ones and faithless ones need saving. That pretty much sums up the bleak outlook of 2022. Notice that no skill, ability, knowledge, or possession saves either one. Instead, it’s about priorities. In their desire faithless people are caught. Both are pursued, but there is a desire that causes the faithless one to be caught.
The righteousness of the upright one saves. Well, we, as disciples of Jesus, know that our only claim to righteousness is Jesus, and His death, burial, and resurrection. Nothing else imparts righteousness than Him, His actions on our behalf, and His loving grace. Therefore, the only thing which will save those considered upright (“meeting the standard of Yahweh set through Scriptures”), is Jesus.
So, we can stop working so diligently at pretending everything is good. It’s not. On the other hand, Jesus makes our standing before Jesus firm and secure. If that’s our priority, then the important things are good.
Conversely, when our priorities are not on our Savior, when we desire something less than a right standing before our Creator, then that desire will cause us to be caught in the deluge of the world’s problems.
Like driving, you keep an eye on your speed, the temp, the battery, fuel, while you focus on the road. When you focus on the gauges and keep an eye on the road you will eventually crash into something.
Focus on Jesus, and keep an eye on what’s going on around you. You will discover wisdom, humility, and be saved from common failures.
You may notice those focused on desires so much they compromise faith and honesty, and fail, wallowing in selfish self-pity. Watch them from afar, setting firm boundaries with them. Perhaps they will watch you and change their focus.
May you and yours have a very blessed 2022!