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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Who's on your work site today?

So much contrast exists within the scripture between the person of wisdom and the one who chooses to pursue the life of folly.  We might be thinking we are so wise, but we have a way of building some pretty flimsy homes, don't we?  We can be building, but at the same time tearing down what has been built by wrong words.  Criticism, anger, and even a lack of encouragement can tear down a home.  Wrong attitudes such as pride, fear, or selfishness can destroy a home.  Wrong actions like outbursts and laziness can equally shut off the "construction" of what matters in a home.  Even wrong thoughts like suspicion or a lack of trust come across as wrecking balls in relationships. Contrasts in behavior and attitude often illuminate the things which build up or tear down, don't they?  Lady Wisdom builds her home, but Sir Fool comes along and tears it down - brick by brick - not all of a sudden, but slowly. Building occurs over a matter of time - so does "deconstruction".  No relationship ever falls apart all of a sudden - there are probably long periods of "wreaking ball" and "pry bar" moments which all contributed to the "deconstruction" of what you might have thought was going to turn out to be a great relationship.  We need to recognize the things which construct, but also be on guard about the things which also deconstruct what we are intent on building!

Lady Wisdom builds a lovely home; Sir Fool comes along and tears it down brick by brick.  An honest life shows respect for God; a degenerate life is a slap in his face.  Frivolous talk provokes a derisive smile; wise speech evokes nothing but respect.  A true witness never lies; a false witness makes a business of it.  Cynics look high and low for wisdom—and never find it; the open-minded find it right on their doorstep!  Escape quickly from the company of fools; they’re a waste of your time, a waste of your words.  The wisdom of the wise keeps life on track; the foolishness of fools lands them in the ditch. The stupid ridicule right and wrong, but a moral life is a favored life. (Proverbs 14:1-3, 5-9 MSG)

Building requires great oversight.  You hire a foreman to manage the building simply because you need someone to be in charge.  The wrong person in charge makes for a pretty unproductive work site!  When God is in charge of the building of our relationships, the "fool" doesn't have much of a chance to join our "workforce".  We can choose to live with him in charge, or despise his leadership.  To despise it is to reject the one who has the ability to guide the building, but also to keep the "workers" in line!  

We all know one of the most powerful tools we can use is the tool of our words.  They have the power to nail things together so tightly they just cannot be separated, or to pry things apart so quickly they support which may have been there comes crumbling down.  Fools on the work site leave their "tools" just laying around all over the place allowing them to become tripping hazards to those who are caught unaware.  The words of a fool become tripping hazards - not only taking others down, but presenting some pretty bad hazards for themselves, as well.  

If you stop to look long enough at some relationships, you will begin to see the work site of many a relationship riddled with all kinds of mockers.  The idea of a mocker is one who constantly challenges and defies the one who is directing the actions at hand.  The mocker thrives in the midst of creating calamity with their defiance.  Their main goal is to be an antagonist - resisting every idea which is not their own.  Imagine building with nothing but antagonists - you'd have a mess of building, wouldn't you?  This room would be completely detached from the next one; the wiring would be all askew; and the dwelling would just plain be unlivable.  The same is true when we go about being antagonists in relationship - we make those relationships pretty unlivable.

The work site is always made up of those who possess certain skills.  You need the manual laborers who can be the 'generalists' on the site, but you also need the skilled craftsmen to prepare the things which will ensure the safety and suitability of the building.  Having men and women of understanding on the work site brings a dimension of reasonableness and protection.  Relationships need the 'generalists' kind of builders, but they also need the skill of the craftsmen - understanding beyond that of the generalist. Isn't it amazing how God provides for the "regular" building within the relationship, but also for the "special" parts, as well?  

Even the best of builders need a plan - blueprints of sorts.  They are used to help the builders look ahead and see what comes next.  You just cannot deliver a load of cement, lumber, nails, and shingles at a work site and expect to get it all together without some type of plan.  The wise builder looks ahead, while the foolish will just plan as they go.  The latter ends up with a whole lot of unplanned expense and often a whole lot of "rework".  The wise builder sees the path ahead for what it "really is" - he knows how to interpret the blueprint.  The fool trudges on without concern, never taking the time to explore the insight contained in the blueprint.  It is kind of like trying to live moral lives without ever consulting the "blueprint" for morality we find in the Word of God.

If you have ever been on a work site where something goes wrong, you might have observed the set of "finger-pointers" who come quickly to the scene. Their main goal is to shift the guilt to another.  No one wants to assume the guilt for a poor outcome, but the wise builder will see the value even in assuming the responsibility for the events which didn't produce the best outcome.  The wise will acknowledge there is something wrong and then seek to reconcile the issue.  There is nothing more important than this in relationship - being willing to change the outcome by owning up to what went wrong and then focusing on the work it will take to set things right again.

I don't know where you are on your "work site" today, but I know there may be some foolish and some wise builders on your site.  All relationships have the potential for a little of both.  Some of the best advice we can take today is to ensure the right foreman is in charge - Christ himself.  If he is at the lead, you can be sure he will turn the work site around for you.  Just keep an eye on the building, be willing to embrace the need to follow the blueprint and then don't be unwilling to own up to what went wrong.  Just sayin!