Don’t Poke the Bear

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I prayed about what to write in this post. One side of me is so angry at how people, particularly those in positions of power and authority, mistreat each other. But I realized that if I allow anger to be the “go to” emotion, then I am no better than the ones who are doing the mistreating. The other side of me – the calm and reasonable side (yes, I do have one) – is filled with compassion and even sorrow for those who feel it is their duty to diminish others.

A phrase that comes to mind is, “don’t poke the bear” – a warning to refrain from saying or doing something that might provoke a negative response from someone else. You probably know some of those people. They’re the ones who deem it their right to needlessly provoke, upset, intimidate, or annoy others, sometimes going out of their way to do so and often presenting the action as a joke.

Not funny. And certainly not funny if you’re on the receiving end of the jab.

I think most everyone has engaged in this kind of behaviour at one time or another, not that it makes it right. We lash out at the authority figures who make rules we believe are ridiculous, but we have to abide by them anyway. This is particularly evident during this time of Covid-19 restrictions as social media is overrun with scathing comments, senseless arguments, and cringe-worthy responses. I am saddened when I read some of the words coming from people who should be offering encouragement and hope, but instead are using Facebook as a forum to vent. They’re poking the bear – inciting others to join them in their negative rants.

With empty words. Dangerous words.

1 Timothy 1:5-7 says: For we reach the goal of fulfilling all the commandments when we love others deeply with a pure heart, a clean conscience, and sincere faith.Some believers have been led astray by teachings and speculations that emphasize nothing more than the empty words of men.They presume to be expert teachers of the law, but they don’t have the slightest idea of what they’re talking about and they simply love to argue! (TPT)

I read that and could do nothing but take a good long look at myself. Am I leading people astray by teachings and speculations that emphasize nothing more than empty words? Am I arguing simply because I love to argue? Have I been prodded to poke the bear by reading and listening to others who do so? Lord, forgive me.

My goal, as in the first part of the scripture above, is to fulfill God’s commandments by loving others deeply with a pure heart, a clean conscience, and a sincere faith.

Be encouraged to do the same. The Father is always close by to help.

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Filed under Bible, Christian, decisions, God, Issues, Love

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