A Voice in the Shadowlands

We Aren’t Whales…

In my quiet time this morning, one of the…less pleasant Bible verses came up. Proverbs 26:11 – “As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly.” Peter, in his second letter, takes the verse and applies it to people who experience the gospel and reject it’s truth only to go back to their old life. While you can’t argue with the wisdom of that, I don’t think it’s the only application. Having recently been reminded on Sunday that “Stupid is as stupid does” it all seems to line up very well.

Fools, in the Bible, are not just dumb but stubbornly dumb. Fools reject wisdom and help, deny that God exists, and (one of my favorites) his mouth invites a beating. For the most part, though, it’s not that he can’t learn, he refuses to because he is happy being where he is. We’re called to more than that.

Today’s quiet time, Bren managed to point out that part of this revolved around releasing things for forgiveness. I’d never thought about this before. It can go one of two ways: We spend our entire life focusing on how we were wronged and try to draw such power and bitterness that can’t let go of the mess to forgive the one who wronged us, or we can be so focused on our own wrongs and sins that they come to define us and we’d rather wallow in that filth than move on because we don’t think we deserve to move on. Both sides are bull. We, as children of the Creator, cannot be defined by one mishap, whether our fault or someone else’s. You have to let go of it. It’s scary, and believe me I know, because it requires letting go of something that we’ve given so much meaning, so much of ourselves, to.

It requires realizing one thing: We aren’t whales. Sperm whales in particular. You see, sperm whales have a rare gift. Their waste is worth its weight in gold. Sperm whales produce waste product called ambergris. It’s something they produce to save their intestinal tract from the harsh beaks of the squid that they love oh so very much to eat. Yes. In their intestines. Yes. Waste. And it tends to come out where your waste does (although it seems like on occasion, they will puke some of it up, especially if it is too large of a mass to pass). This product floats on the surface and cures until it’s a hard, waxy and grey and becomes perfect for perfumes or cooking. For the purposes of today’s post (and everyone’s well-being) we are going to assume that the sperm whale we’re discussing went to a kegger last night. Whaley the whale gets sick, pukes and finds he can sell his sick for a hefty sum.

If I ever found myself in Whaley’s situation, I just have a puddle of sick and some slightly moist shoes.  No one wants what I’m selling (if I tried to sell it, I would likely end up with a nice room with padded walls and a fairly tight fitting jacket) and, if I were smart, should get the heck away from said puddle. Too many times though, my cockiness leads me away only to think, eh, I bet it won’t happen that way again and I just find myself with another puddle of puke. It takes effort to step away but it usually takes more than that. Yes, you can’t praise self-discipline enough. It’s something that too many people have too little of. Still, often times we’re not strong enough on our own. Dogs often need a leash to forcibly drag them away from things. Even when you call their name and they know they shouldn’t, when their being dragged off they tend to look back over their shoulders longingly.

So let’s agree on a few things: We aren’t whales. Our crap is worthless. It’s better not to be a stubborn fool. So what do we do? Realize that the problem is bigger than ourselves, trust Papa to lead us away from it, and make the conscious effort to let go. God will only take us as far as we allow him. It’s not easy to give up control, but it sure does make life make more sense when you don’t have to do it all.



3 responses

  1. Tiff

    This was a great post and I’m sorry to speak irreverently here, but I just have to say it. I’m sorry, Matt:

    Are we whales…on stilts?

    18 August 2010 at 9:57 pm

    • Have I mentioned how hilariously awesome you are, Tiffany? Becky and I laughed very hard when I read that. Awww, and now I miss you more than I was…Hope things are going well!

      19 August 2010 at 10:35 am

  2. Tiff

    I miss you and your bride, as well. I owe her a call, in fact. But anyway, I am enjoying the insights on your blog — great mind-fodder and encouragment. Thanks!

    19 August 2010 at 3:20 pm

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