Can’t judge a book by it’s cover? Yes I can! Watch me!
We’ve all heard the phrase “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover” right? Maybe you’ve heard me complaining about a Biblical Interpretations class I’m taking for my Master’s class. One of the books I had to read for it is “Slaves, Women, & Homosexuals.” I was skeptical at first (stick with me the story is worth it), but since “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover” I waded in with open eyes! Actually, I went in looking for something to disagree with….and boy did I find it! In the first chapter it became apparent my concerns were right! This guy was trying to build a hermeneutic that made room for homosexual behavior! But I had to read the book I continued on…It became clear to my by the middle of chapter two that the intentions of this book was to take the neutral example of slavery (a practice everyone agrees is wrong), present a case for a total egalitarian relationship between men and women, and then apply it to homosexuals. I could see it as I read between the lines!
And there in was the problem…As I said, I came to the book looking for something to disagree with. And I could just feel in my bones I was going to be right! But as the author built his case for a Biblical hermeneutic softening the patriarchal position often taken by churches, he clearly showed how the hermeneutic didn’t apply to the homosexual argument – he actually provided some great information for how to refute the homosexual argument – but that’s not the point of this post. This post is to show what I did wrong and what caused it.
Now, I’m willing to bet most of us would have a healthy skepticism in the title of this book…come on, be honest! But it wasn’t the skepticism that took precedent – it was my poor attitude. You see the class was not what I had originally been told it would be – and I was still mad about that. Ephesians 4:26 says “Be angry and do not sin” – which is a reference to Psalm 37:8 “Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. 9 For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.” I had started reading the book mad – and I knew this book was going to be something else to be mad about, so I just stayed mad.
How often do we let our anger, bad attitude, misperception or some other negative thought drive us to look for errors or offenses? How about at church? Someone makes a statement that is rude or curt; you get to decide how address it. You can take it at face value or look for what is actually being said. Maybe the comment, even though presented poorly, does warrant your consideration. For every situation you approach with two buckets–one in filled with gasoline, the other with water–you decide which to use.
The conclusion of Psalm 37:9 brings the key to carrying the right attitude “…those who wait for the LORD…” Maybe you need to learn to pause before you respond to someone, take a moment before you shoot off that email, pray before you have that meeting…whatever it is that allows you to wait for the Lord, learn how to do it and I imagine you’ll find yourself in less conflict, less stressed, and at a better level of peace in your life.