15But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or any sort of criminal, or as a mischief-maker (a meddler) in the affairs of others [infringing on their rights]. – 1 Peter 4:15 (AMP)
Memories are a strange thing. There are those you work fervently to forget and yet remain vivid and those you long to cling to yet seem to fade away as you grasp at the mist of what once was.
Childhood memories are oftentimes the recollections we reminisce over when we are gathered together with our extended families.
When I read todays Scripture, I thought to myself, well Lord this seems a fairly simple request… at the beginning. Not having our names associated with being called a murderer or a thief is something most people will never have to worry about. And then the memory came…
I remember as a child, no more than five or six years old, being at a friend’s house in Michigan. I have no remembrance whatsoever of this friend’s name. I do however recall the “event” of the day.
I was in their bedroom and they were showing me their new Silly Putty. It came in a plastic egg. It was smooth, cool and slick in my hand. It made a crackling noise as I folded it over and again between my fingers. I remember the smell of it distinctly. In my apparent hypnotic state, I was overcome with the compulsion to steal that Silly Putty! I did.
My friend walked out of the room, I stretched the Silly Putty, smoothing it across my stomach underneath my tee shirt. I snapped the plastic egg back together, set it on my friend’s bed and by the time they returned to the bedroom, I was telling them I had to leave. I was a thief.
Yes, my mother made me return the Silly Putty as soon as she found out what I had done. Funny though, my memory of what happened there is not quite so clear.
Now we may say to ourselves, oh that was something that was done as a child, the Lord forgave you. Absolutely, but He also allowed me to remember that incident as I was tempted to parlay to Him, that not being a thief or murderer was easy enough.
Was I simply a child that was being a mischief maker in that moment? Possibly, but according to today’s Scripture, murderers, thieves, any other sort of criminal and mischief-makers (meddlers) are all in the same verse.
When we hear the term “Mischief- Maker”, most of us probably think of boy’s being boys, little tricks children play on one another, frogs under bed sheets and the sort. Not in today’s world.
In today’s world, mischief- makers have social media like Facebook, MySpace and even Twitter to spread rumors, gossip and threats. Fights are pre-arranged for ten year olds at school, people are murdered for removing people as their “friends” and someone’s reputation, esteem and very life can be destroyed with the click of a key of a computer or cellphone send button.
Do not be deceived, do not point your finger and do not cluck your tongue. This mischief making and meddling is burning like an uncontrollable forest fire in our churches.
Loose-lipped people, in their need to let other people praise their importance because they are on the prayer team, often cloak their meddling under the guise of “Pray for sister so and so because…”
Women’s groups and men’s groups alike share in the guilt of taking desperate peoples prayer requests and broadcasting them like the local news.
If the church had a gossip column, who would you retain to write it? Sadly enough that question most likely brought someone immediately to mind.
Mischief-making and meddling are not reserved to the confines of the world and the unsaved. It is a widespread epidemic that has become a way of life. It breeds strife, contention and dissention and it has no business being named among God’s children. Mischief making and meddling have a destination, one that Paul had to deal with in the church at Corinth.
20For I am fearful that somehow or other I may come and find you not as I desire to find you, and that you may find me too not as you want to find me--that perhaps there may be factions (quarreling), jealousy, temper (wrath, intrigues, rivalry, divided loyalties), selfishness, whispering, gossip, arrogance (self-assertion), and disorder among you. – 2 Corinthians 12:20
What does the Book of Proverbs teach us about meddling?
17He who, passing by, stops to meddle with strife that is none of his business is like one who takes a dog by the ears. – Proverbs 26:17
It is without question that no-one in their right mind would walk up to a dog and grab him by the ears. I don’t care if it is a little Chihuahua. You know with all likelihood if you grab that dog by the ears he is going to bite you.
Meddling with the best of intentions is still meddling. It will still be found alongside the murderers and thieves in today’s Scripture. Take off that meddling label, like that name tag from the latest conference!
Become a mover! Pray for those in need as He moves you, witness as He moves you, bless as He moves you, encourage as He moves you and offer advice only as He moves you!
28For in Him we live and move and have our being; as even some of your [own] poets have said, For we are also His offspring. – Acts 17:28
Have you resided among the murderers, thieves, mischief makers and meddlers? Have you lived as one of them? God’s mercy, grace and forgiveness are more than enough for us! But it requires us to change our address and move!