February 5, 2009 ē By Ed Wrather02.05.09
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like. - Galatians 5:19-21a.
The grocery stores in Yardley, Pennsylvania had a problem with someone purposely mutilating food. No, they were not squeezing the Charmin but they were crumbling the cookies. They were also squeezing or mashing the loaves of bread. The masher struck again and again. He went on squeezing and mashing dozens of times with the total damage estimated at $8000. It was such a problem a cookie company finally put up a hidden camera to catch the villain. The cookie masher was finally caught and his attorney had this to say "I squeeze bread when I go to the store, but I donít get arrested for it."
It is hard to understand why someone would purposefully destroy food products but than there are others who do worse things. Today the Tylenol poisonings from back in the early 1980s are in the news again. Someone put cyanide in Tylenol capsules and seven unsuspecting people died as a result of the crime. There are some people who delight in purposefully destroying lives. They simply enjoy being mean. Stabbing someone in the back is their idea of fun. "Why be nice when you can be mean?" seems to be their motto for living life. "Why give an inch when you can push someone down?" appears to be how they operate on a daily basis. "Why say something kind when you can criticize?" must be their mindset.
Being mean on purpose is in direct opposition to most of the qualities listed as being the fruit of the Spirit which all Christians should have in Galatians 5:22-23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." Just because others are being mean does not justify our acting in the same way. We are called to a different standard. It is a standard called the Christian life, and we ought to follow the example of Jesus. In Acts 10:38 we are told this about Jesus, "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil." Jesus "went about doing good," and we should to do the same.
Instead of being mean we are to be kind, loving, peaceful, joyful, good, longsuffering, and gentle. It is the only kind of lifestyle, which will overwhelm and conquer the mean spirited people of this world. Turning the other cheek and going the extra mile (Matthew 5:38-42) are not the most popular of behaviors in the 21st Century. However, turning the other cheek and going the extra mile are behaviors which God will use in a powerful way in the lives of those on the receiving end of those actions. Instead of being mean on purpose, let us be nice on purpose. Let us always strive to do good just as Jesus would want us to do.