Vol. 12 No. 7 July 2010
By Jeff A. Jenkins
A good friend of mine in Oklahoma City concludes nearly every conversation we have by telling me to “Be Nice.” He is a nice guy himself, and he encourages me not just by saying the words, but by the way he lives.
Something happened to me today that reminded me of the importance of being nice. I learned again why it is important for us to be kind to others. I was up early this morning preparing for a lunch meeting in Houston. I drove down to LUV field, got on the plane and flew down to Houston.
I had rented a car through Priceline (which I always try to do because it saves mucho bucks!). On the way from Houston Hobby to the rental car facility, the driver informed those of us on the bus that there might be a wait getting our cars. It seems like they weren’t prepared for as many renters as they were getting today. I was beginning to think, “That’s what I get for using Priceline!”
When he pulled up to the facility to let us out, my heart sank. There were people standing all over the lot – in the premium, full-size, mid-size and compact sections. There must have been about thirty people or groups of people waiting. As I got out of the bus, I could hear people complaining with serious anger. I began to think that I would miss my meeting. They were bringing out only one car at a time. It was obvious that it was not going well, and it was going slowly!
I had rented a mid-size car for nineteen dollars, and I felt sure that most of the twenty-plus people in front of me were also waiting on mid-size cars. There were only two girls in the lot. They were feverishly working, trying to help all of these people. I waited a minute, walked over to one of the girls and said, “So what’s the problem today?” She responded with great exasperation, “The problem is they’ve stuck me out here to listen to all of these people who are complaining and cussing me out.” I said, “I’m not going to curse you, or be upset with you at all.” Then I asked her if people were really cursing her. She said, “Most of these people standing here have either yelled at me or cussed at me.” I said, “Surely they know it’s not your fault?” Then I said, “Don’t worry, it will get better and everything will be okay.” I patted her on the shoulder and walked away.
As I was walking away she said, “Sir.” I said, “Yes ma’am?” She said, “You see that convertible coming out of the carwash there?” I said, “Yes ma’am.” She said, “You are going to get that car, right now!” I said, “I’m supposed to get a mid-size.” She said, “I know, but I have the authority to give you whatever car I choose, because we don’t currently have any mid-size vehicles, and since you are the first person who has been nice to me, I’m going to give it to you!” I said, “Thank you very much.” She said, “No, thank you for being nice.”
Now, please understand that I don’t believe that we should be nice just because it pays to be nice, because the truth is it might not always pay. Why then should we be nice, or kind to others? We should be kind because God is kind (Psalm 145:17; Romans 2:4; 11:22). If we want to be like God, we will be kind. We should be kind because love is kind (1 Corinthians 13:4). Kindness is listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). We should be kind because the Bible commands kindness in Christians (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:12; 2 Peter 1:7). We should be kind because there are so many hurting people in our world who need to see acts of kindness. When we are kind, the Word of God is honored (Titus 2:5). Therefore, Christian friend, go out there and “be nice” to someone today!
Adam B. Cozort
We live in a world that revels in ambiguity. Webster defines “ambiguous” as: “Having two or more meanings; doubtful; being of uncertain signification; susceptible of different interpretations; hence, obscure. It is applied to words and expressions.” Ambiguity revolves around uncertainty, making someone unsure of what should be done or why something is being done. It is specifically described as being applied to words and expressions, the things that we write and say.
Ambiguity has long been the politician’s best friend. Politicians are able to make promises about anything they want, but never have to explain what they mean or how they intend to pay for all of these glorious additions to life and luxury. Unfortunately, many times, those who are ambiguous make things sound so good that many people do not even pick up on the ambiguity. They are happy to go along, thinking they are following one thing, when in reality they are swallowing something else entirely.
The most exasperating aspects of ambiguity are found in another area – religion. It has become commonplace in our religious society, today, to make everything biblical ambiguous. There is no way truly to understand what God wanted to say to us because He wasn’t intelligent enough to be able to give it in a way that we could understand it, or at least so the perceived argument goes. Yet, is God really ambiguous in the Bible? Has God really given us doubletalk and unclear terminology of which we cannot come to a clear understanding? Certainly, not. Man’s inventions have made it ambiguous, and man’s pride and arrogance have provided the foundation upon which such charges of ambiguity reside. Consider three vital areas where God has not been ambiguous.
God has not been ambiguous about salvation. Regardless of what many in the religious world profess, God has stated exactly what is expected of man in order to obtain eternal salvation. We must hear and understand the Word of God (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus Christ and His promises (Hebrews 11:6), repent of our sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ before men (Romans 10:9-10) and be immersed in water for the remission of our sins (Acts 22:16). These requirements are completely unambiguous, nor are they difficult to understand, unless you are one who does not want to believe them. Yet, God’s clarity does not end here.
God has not been ambiguous about worship. God has given to us very clearly what He expects out of our worship. We are to sing with the voice to teach and admonish one another in praise to God (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16), we are to humbly bow ourselves in prayer to God (1 Timothy 2:1-8), we are to give as God has so richly blessed us (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:6-8), we are to partake of the Lord’s Supper on every first day of the week (Matthew 26:26-29; Acts 20:7), and we are to preach and teach to one another the Word of our Lord (Acts 20:7; 2 Timothy 4:2). These things are not difficult to understand, nor to carry out. However, man’s hardened heart has stated that God’s unambiguous commands are not sufficient.
God has not been ambiguous about eternity. We live in an age where many people believe one of two ideas: either there is no eternity, or everyone is going to heaven. Neither of these fit the Bible’s clear teaching. Heaven will be reserved for those who love God and keep His commandments (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Timothy 4:6-8). Hell has been reserved for those who refuse to follow through with the commandments of God and turn from Him (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Revelation 21:8). These things are neither ambiguous nor hidden.
God, unlike man, is not ambiguous in what He says or expects. May it ever be our endeavor to be honest in our approach to God and His Word, that we might learn what is expected and reject those who will not proclaim it as it is.