September 2, 2012

Here’s Your Sign – Philip Philip Strong

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

A comedian by the name of Bill Engvall has been making people laugh (and making what I imagine to be a good living too!) for several years by telling “Here’s your sign” stories. The common thread of these stories is the apparently unavoidable tendency we all share to say or do things from time to time that are just plain…. well, stupid. And when we say or do these foolish things, someone is invariably there to hear or see them, and, of course, bring to our attention just how ridiculous we sound or look. Engvall’s signature tagline to such occasions is, “Here’s your sign”- meaning that someone ought to hand us a “Stupid” sign to wear so that others will know to approach or engage us with caution!

Such is the basis of his humor- and it’s funny to us precisely because it is familiar. Most all of us have “been there” and “done that.” Being able to laugh at ourselves, and see the funny side of the really dumb things we say and do, is probably good, and certainly supplies some healthy humility to our egos. We all need someone to help us really see ourselves clearly- to tell us the truth about our identity.

Actually, there is somewhat of a biblical parallel to these things. Under the Law of Moses, a person infected with leprosy was required to cry out “Unclean! Unclean!” to those who approached so that they could avoid close contact with him, cf. Leviticus 13:45 This is likely why those men in Luke 17:12-13“stood at a distance” from Jesus and called out to Him. Though certainly the horrors of an incurable disease are not to be made light of by comparing them to a comedic device, the principle is the same as Engvall’s suggested sign: to let others know you might be dangerous to them!

Given these things, perhaps there are other “signs” which would be helpful as identifiers and warnings to others if we would wear them, like….

A “Liar” sign would let everyone know not to trust us. “Oh, but I’m not really a liar, I just stretch the truth a little sometimes.” Well, all that won’t fit on the sign! Besides, Ephesians 4:26 says, “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak the truth, each of you, with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.”

A “Thief” sign would certainly be helpful. That way, everyone would know not to leave valuables unprotected if such a sign-wearer was around. Or, we could all just heed Ephesians 4:28, “Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need.”

An “Adulterer” sign could be very beneficial also (yeah, I know- there was a book and a couple of movies about this one). After all, it would be easier than wearing multiple signs since an adulterer has “lied” regarding the contract made with his mate, and has “stolen” someone to whom he did not have a right, cf. Matthew 14:3-4. Or, we could just honor God’s rule of marriage: “One man, one woman, for life,” Matthew 19:6,9.

Do these things sound too harsh? The truth is we could all have multiple signs identifying our own sins, cf Romans 3:10-18,23. Though we may have all earned the right to wear one (or many) of these signs at one time or another, there are other signs we could wear that would also be helpful to those around us, like….

A “Washed” or “Sanctified” or “Justified” sign could help others to more clearly “see” us, and Jesus’ saving power. 1Corinthians 6:9-10 identifies a whole host of folks who “shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” This list includes, along with several other sins, liars, thieves, and adulterers. But, the very next verse (v.11) adds, “And such were some of you; but you were washed, you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.”

The great news is the Corinthians changed signs! And you can too- just “be baptized and wash away your sins” as Paul did in Acts 22:16; cleanse yourself from dishonorable things and “pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace” so that you can be “sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work” as in 2Timothy 2:21-22; and by these things become justified- “for not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified,” Romans 2:13. So, if you have to wear a sign, make it one of these!



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