Friday, January 20, 2023

The Lion, the Witch, and the Sister-Wife

Suggested Reading: Genesis 12:10-20

Growing up, one of my favorite books was The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. The first time I read it, as Edmund accidentally stumbled into Narnia while following his sister Lucy, and then as he encountered the White Witch who wooed him with Turkish Delights, I remember thinking, Don't trust her Edmund, she's lying to you. She spoke to him in a very sweet, reassuring way while promising him the chance to be king of Narnia with her as his queen. But you knew, reading that scene, that when he came back with his brother and sisters she would turn on him and kill them all. You just knew that her actions would not match her words.

I had a similar experience the other morning reading through the book of Genesis. In Genesis chapter 12, Abram (not yet Abraham) was taking his wife Sarai to Egypt to survive a famine. On the way there he said, "Look, you are a very beautiful woman" (Genesis 12:11, NLT). I remember thinking, I wonder if that is why she goes along with Abram's plan to call her his sister. I mean, a lot of women would want to cooperate with a man who starts off that way, especially if you are already in love with him. Abram went on to explain that Sarai was so beautiful that she put his life in danger because the Egyptians would kill him in order to have her for themselves. So, saying she was his sister was the only way to keep him alive.  But just a few verses later, Abram had given up his beautiful wife in order to keep up the charade and save his own skin.

The story reminded me that even the "best" of us can find it difficult at times to make our actions match up with our words. We talk a good game, telling people how much we care about them, promising them that we will care for them in one way or another, but we find it much harder to follow through and match up our actions with our beautiful sounding words. We say we love someone but we never actually express interest in their lives. We tell someone how important they are to us but then never make any time for them in our lives. But we also do the same thing in our relationship with God. We insist that we love God but aren't willing to spend 20 minutes in prayer. We talk about how important it is to share the Gospel with people but we never actually open our mouths when we have the chance. We argue about how it is the church's job to care for the poor rather than the government's, but then we never make plans to fulfill that purpose.

Rather than being discouraged at our own lack of consistency or using our "hypocrisy" as a reason to keep our mouths shut, let's work on making our actions match our words. Go visit that person you claim to care about. Set aside some money to provide for someone in need. Whatever your problem area in matching your actions with your words, don't back down from saying the right things; just make a plan to do the right things, too.

Getting Lost in Discussion

Suggested Reading: Acts 8:26-40 I have this really bad habit of discovering online discussion boards and then getting lost in the discus...