WORDS FROM W.W. May 28, 2015
Jerk. A four letter word that I find myself saying more frequently these days. The way I use it almost never is connected to some kind of meat, like chicken or beef, but is, however, almost always related to a meathead!
Jerk-hood for many people is not a sickness. It’s a persistent condition, like bad breath or B.O. It travels around with them like a dust storm announcing Pig Pen’s presence.
The “Big Boy” truck that weaves in and out of traffic like he’s a Duke of Hazzard…the forty-something man who charges out of the grocery door without regard for the pregnant lady coming in with two pre-schoolers in tow…any of the Real Housewives of Anywhere, USA…jerk-hood is gaining new members more rapidly than gray hairs on my head!
It’s puzzling to me! Why do more and more people act like “Biff Tannen” from Back to the Future. Do they realize it? Oblivious?
It’s interesting that jerk-hood stands out like a sore thumb compared to sainthood! Saints don’t go around wearing their good deeds and compassionate hearts on their sleeves. Jerks stand out like a leisure suit at a GQ Fashion Show!
So what’s going? Is this a phase, a momentary trend? For one we’re more and more self-focused. We’ve even given it a name…”selfies!” We’re very much about ourselves. We’ve bought into it, and now believe it. It’s blurred the lines of what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. We’re not as sure these days.
Jerk-hood has even entered our churches. Most of the time we wrap it in Christ-like language, but it’s still there. Some weeks a person has to look real, real deep to find any fruit of the Spirit in the congregation. Part of Joel’s Osteen’s popularity has been the blurring of theology. It’s mixed up even more than a DQ Blizzard, spinning together some God talk with mostly self-talk. The message sounds appealing…and it makes me happy…which is what it’s all about! Jerks for Jesus…has a certain ring to it!
What Jesus said is a little disturbing to the jerk clan. He said “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24) Those words might not sell well to the sixty-something woman who just displayed her middle finger for me to see as she turned in front of me.
Lives are based on the mountain of momentary decisions that display our true selves. What is right, what is Christ-like, what is encouraging and positively impactful…often get buried in the last chapter of a person’s unwritten life of destructive behavior and disturbing words.
Some might miss this point, but it really is the evidence of the evil one’s intense interest in each of our lives. If I can have a few “f bombs” thrown my way it can take me off my commitment to to random acts of kindness. If the hamburger I order at Wendy’s looks like it was put together by my four year old granddaughter it will take me into those darker moments of bitterness and disgust that will cause me to treat someone or several people with disdain and no value.
It’s a hard thing, and a spreading fog of fallen humanity, and I recognize that my membership card for jerk-hood gets displayed quite often.
Thank God that he even loves jerks as much as the saints!