If you’ve ever seen the Wizard of Oz, surely you recall the scene when Dorothy encounters Glinda, the Good Witch of the North in downtown Munchkin Land.
She asks Dorothy, “What the Munchkins want to know is: are you a good witch or a bad witch?”
Shocked by the accusation that she was anything less than angelic, Dorothy declares, “But, I’ve already told you, I’m not a witch at all! Witches are old and ugly.”
Like Dorothy, most of us are convinced where we stand on the good to bad spectrum. If you profess to be a believer, you might even think you’re off-the-scale good and kind, all the time. Then there are some of us who take pride in our ability to be “nice-nasty.” Our smiles mask our thoughts but the actions of our hands (deeds) tell the real story. Ultimately, there comes a time when we have to pick a team. We have to answer Glinda’s question. Where do we stand?
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)
We see children and teenagers struggle with this as their parents train them to behave well, to treat people nicely and to do good. But, the appearance of good means nothing if they’re playing with bad kids at recess or hanging with teenage peers with no direction. They can easily switch teams and so can adults. This is still a lesson for the most mature of us. While we’re a long way from the playground or our high school cafeteria, we often find ourselves on the wrong side of righteousness simply because of who we associate with in our personal lives, in the workplace, on a college campus –even church. The people we associate with shouldn’t have more influence on our thoughts, words and deeds than our relationship with God. Proverbs 6 offers up the Lord’s Top 7 offenses that the Real Housewives of Fill-in-the-Blank routinely violate:
A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren. (Proverbs 6: 16-19)
Feet quick to run to evil. That one makes me chuckle because I envision a woman in stilettos running on her toes in a clique of nice-nasty girlfriends. Some of us don’t think twice before we venture off into the wrong lane. Whom we associate with can prove to be a subtle form of influence, a tiny seed of evil that gets planted with something as simple as gossip. Now you don’t have to be the gossiper, the person sharing the story. You need only be the one giving it audience, listening to the person whose mouth is giving birth to that seed.
The mouths of fools are their ruin; they trap themselves with their lips. (Proverbs 18:7)
What’s in our heart comes out of our mouths and dictates our actions. We may snub someone or be short in our conversation with someone who annoys us. We may throw shade because we don’t want to be bothered or we think we’re superior. We may form an opinion about someone based on what our associates tell us instead of getting to know them for ourselves. We may be smiling on the outside but our jealous thoughts are throwing daggers at the sister sitting across from us in the board meeting. Eventually, the power of our thoughts will cut someone if our heart doesn’t change.
We’re human. We’re not going to get along with everyone. We’re not called to be perfect. But, we are called to pick a team. We can’t play both sides. The Final Four Championship wouldn’t make sense if every basket counted as a point for both teams. When we’re wearing two different jerseys, playing for both good and evil, we don’t win. No one wins. #TeamJesus