A Sign of the Times
“Please don’t give money to beggars on this corner. It’s bad for the neighborhood.”
Those were the words of an actual sign I saw on the side of the road as I drove back to my office today. The major issues that this professionally-made sign points to don’t escape me: the low societal view (and treatment) of the poor and of human dignity, and the tension, at times, between giving versus enabling. As important as these matters are, my mind, for the most part, went to something altogether different.
You see, someone didn’t take too kindly to what was written and took it upon himself or herself to edit the message by cutting out the word “don’t” making the sign read: “Please ______ give money to beggars on this corner…” Obviously, one could just mentally fill in the blank to get the intended message of the author.
With that being said, I couldn’t help but see a correlation between what an individual did to that sign and what some people do to the Scripture – God’s message, His “sign,” if you will. They may not cut out words and sections of the Bible literally, but they do hermeneutically. That is, they interpret the Bible in such a way that they in effect change its message. They cut it to fit their own desires, which only means that it is tailor-made for their destruction (2 Peter 3:16).
That sign on the corner was a sign of the times: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teaching of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.” (1 Timothy 4:1-3, emphasis mine)
Regardless of who seeks to change God’s sign, may God strengthen the hearts and expand the ministry and influence of those of us who, by His grace, are committed to faithfully “cutting it straight.” (2 Timothy 2:15)