2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 - Chicken Pecking
2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 "If anyone refuses to obey what we say in this letter, notice who he is and stay away from him, that he may be ashamed of himself. Don't think of him as an enemy, but speak to him as you would to a brother who needs to be warned." (TLB)
I wasn't raised in the country, but I know a man who was. He would often make observations about human behavior and tie them to something that he noticed as a kid growing up on a farm.
He remarked to me one day that he's seen many people in trouble in his career, and quite often the reaction of others, instead of reaching out to that person, is to join in putting that other person down.............say something derogatory...........or do something as simple as nodding their heads when someone else takes a verbal poke at the beleaguered person.
My associate would compare this behavior to chickens he saw in the barnyard. When one chicken was hurt or crippled, the other chickens took turns coming up and pecking at the injured bird. This kept on until the chicken was killed.
Until this was pointed out to me by this man, I would sometimes participate in the "pecking" of a person in trouble. On one extreme, I'd join in on the verbal attack (not to the person's face, usually)...........on the other extreme I'd merely either keep quiet when the "pecking" was going on or nod my head in ascent.
I'd rarely reach out to that person to help, and it bothers me tremendously today when I think of specific instances where I assumed the role of an attacker, because I missed many opportunities to reach out to people in trouble, as the Lord did when He was here among us.
So when I read tonight's scripture, even though Brother Paul's focus is on something quite different than I'm describing above, there are lessons for me in what he says about how I should reach out to all people in trouble.
The Lord made a practice of healing the wounds of those injured by offering a kind word...........an outstretched arm......to those who needed comfort. And I have that example to use as a standard by which to gauge how I'm to react to those in their times of need.
Some excellent standards to live by and guide me are given by the Lord in Matthew,....."Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)......."Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy" (Matthew 5:7)......."Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matthew 5:9 (NASB))
There is enough pain and criticism in the world today without me adding to it. There isn't nearly enough of the Love, Understanding, and Patience that the Lord gives so freely to those who need it. With His help, I hope to change that in my life so that I reach out to others in need as my Father does to me.
Love in Jesus,
"But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired." (1 Corinthians 12:18 NASB)
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission."
This devotional was originally posted on CCI-Devo - Daily Group Devotionals on January 22, 2004 in post #457. It was written by Jim Ross, a former United Pentecostal Church member, who attends Christian Challenge International, the sponsor of the devotional group. The devotional is the copyright of Jim Ross and is reprinted on this site by permission.
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August 23, 1997
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