A TIME FOR THAT – Part Two
In my last blog, I started us on the path of considering the words of Solomon found in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. And we asked ourselves if Solomon’s musings (and the advice of the rock group The Birds) are applicable for Christians today.
We only got as far as the first part of verse 3 where Solomon says that there is “a time to kill, and a time to heal.” There are four and a half verses and about 11 more “at time to” comparisons. We aren’t going to make it through them all in this blog either. However, we’ll cover a few more and I’ll leave the rest to your own study time.
“A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance”
I hope that, in your life, however long it has been, you have experienced many times of laughter and dancing. Dancing can be a way to express joy and celebration. King David danced with abandon at the return of the Ark of the Covenant. There are some churches that use dancing as part of their weekly worship services. And, of course, in the USA, we often use dance as part of celebrations – weddings, anniversaries, New Year’s Day, high school prom, etc.
I am sure you have also experienced weeping and mourning, whether you lost a loved one, had a personal injury or suffered a financial trial. Weeping/crying is a gift that helps us express and relieve stress, anger, fear and other emotions. I feel like women make more use of this than men, but it seems like that is just how we are made. Which of you ladies have not benefited from having a “good cry” from time-to-time?
During His time on this earth, Jesus, quoting Isaiah 61:6, said, "The Spirit of the LORD [is] upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to [the] poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to [the] captives And recovery of sight to [the] blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; [Luke 4:18 NKJV] When the times of mourning and weeping come, He is there to help us.
In addition to our own times of laughing, dancing, weeping and mourning, Colossians 12:26 [ESV] tells us If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. We are to experience the suffering and rejoicing of our fellow members of the body and mourn or rejoice with them. This makes sense, since we are told that we are members of one body. Can my toe get smashed without the rest of my body commiserating with the pain? Of course not.
“A time to keep silence, and a time to speak”
If you have ever had (or did some babysitting for) a chatterbox child, you know there is a time to keep silence. But seriously, in our various relationships (family, work, friends, etc.) it is good to know when to talk and when to “bite your tongue” - not saying exactly what you are thinking. In fact, this skill could save your marriage or your job.
Often, we struggle for the right words to say when a friend is suffering. Sometimes, we’d do better to sit silently as Job’s friends initially did.
Job 2:11-13 [ESV] 11 Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him. 12 And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. 13 And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.
If you are familiar with the book of Job, you know that his friends did a poor job of providing comfort and help once they opened their mouths to speak. Seems like they would have provided better support had they continued to remain silent.
Do you ever find it tempting to give someone a piece of your mind? To tell them just what you think about their “crazy” question, behavior or doctrine?
Proverbs 26:4-5 [ESV] 4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.
According to this proverb, sometimes, the right thing to do is respond. At other times, the right thing to do is to keep silence. The key is in having the wisdom to know which one is the correct response at the time.
We should be willing to speak up and stand in the gap for the oppressed, the poor and the less fortunate around us. We should speak up for those with no voice, whenever we have the opportunity to do so. And, when God provides us with the chance to tell someone about the love of God, the sacrifice of Jesus and the hope of eternity, then, we must speak.
“A time to love, and a time to hate”
It is always the time to love a person. There is never a time to hate a person.
1 John 4:20 [ESV] 20 If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
The Bible outlines many things that God hates – many things. Here is one from Zechariah: Zechariah 8:16-17 [ESV] 16 These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; 17 do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the LORD." We should hate the sin in ourselves. We certainly should hate the evil in the world.
God does not despise people. Job 36:5 [ESV] tells us: "Behold, God is mighty, and does not despise any; he is mighty in strength of understanding.” We should follow the Father’s example in this as well.
If you know me very well at all, you know that I dislike the oft-quoted phrase “love the sinner, hate the sin” because I feel that it still says to the person “you are a sinner.” You know, I am a sinner too. We all sin. Why would I point that part out? Why would I not just say, “I love you no matter what” instead of saying “I love you even though you are a sinner?”
Matthew 5:43-48 talks about loving even our enemies, and concludes with this: 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. [Mat 5:48 ESV] Loving others, even sinners, even our enemies, is the essence of becoming like our Father God.
There are a few more “a time to” phrases left. Here are the ones I have not covered.
“A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away”
“A time to rend, and a time to sew”
“A time of war, and a time of peace”
I would welcome the chance to hear your thoughts on additional Biblical support for these words of Solomon. What do you think? I would like to hear your comments and questions. You can write me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 [KJV] 1 To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up [that which is] planted; 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.