Friday, December 13, 2013


Proverbs 29:5 (esv): “A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet.” Matthew 23:24 (esv): “Woe to you . . . you tithe . . . and have neglected . . . weightier matters . . . justice and mercy and faithfulness . . . straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!”

I am so grateful for Otto Koning, a missionary to (Dutch) New Guinea. Many years ago he shared the story of how he was finally able to grow pineapples in extremely difficult soil, only to have the natives on the compound steal them while claiming innocence, and calling him an angry missionary. All of this while trying to preach the Gospel and win them to Christ! 1

It was his victory in Christ, through acknowledgement of the ridiculous nature of situations he got himself into that prepared me for the following events.

I was getting ready to go and get repair quotes on our car. (This was after someone had pulled out of a filling station and run into our car while trying to retrieve a recently purchased soft drink that had fallen from its perch!)

I was glad that no one was hurt. However, I wasn’t that happy with the insurance “red tape”. Since basic insurance is required by law, I knew I had to agree with the Lord that it really was possible for me to have a balanced spirit!

Before leaving, I shaved and used the toilet. I grabbed my glasses, while flushing the toilet, only to lose my grip on them, and drop them in the toilet as it flushed!

The sheer ridiculousness of the incident had made me laugh! I grabbed an older pair of glasses and headed out of the door to get the quotes. The first collision repair facility had just lost their body repairman. The second one was very thorough in every detail, while charging a high price for the repair. He did offer to do extra touch up on the vehicle without charge if he got the job. The third one was quite innovative, and said he could fix it for almost half the price.

Now”, I thought, “I still have to figure out what to do about the glasses.” However, the Lord wanted me to trust Him for wisdom. (James 1:5) Since He had already given victory in my spirit when I was able to laugh, I now had the practical problem in my hand. With most things I can face who I am, because I am a Christian, bought with the price of Calvary. But when it comes to true wisdom, I hate to admit that sometimes I make decisions that are not really that wise. I had to confess my problem to my best friend, my wife! The advice quickly came that the glasses needed to be fished out.

I am not a toilet repairman by experience or trade, so I did not have an arsenal of tools for the occasion. A coat hanger is really too stiff, and a regular “snake” has no hook. But as I prayed for wisdom, the idea came to me that I should use one of the coat hangers that have a cardboard tube at the bottom. I knew the wire was softer, and that there were hooks on each end. I took it apart, inserted one end and kept turning it around, pulling as I did so. Presto, there were my glasses!

The only damage was the death route for my pride, and a scratch outside of the line of vision on my glasses!

I hate to admit that I still fall for flattery! This is why the verse I quoted at the start is so applicable to this scene. The worst mistakes in life are those that we felt we had already learned! The worst kind of flattery is self-flattery! 2 Corinthians 10:12 warns us not to compare ourselves with ourselves. The net for my feet was right there to catch me in my failure!

Unfortunately a partner of this problem is personal disciplines without overall wisdom. This is why this is such a funny story. It ended right for a change! The victory of Romans 8 is not possible until we recognize this law of the spirit.

Jesus told a story in Luke 16 of how true kindness to those who have to live with the kind of person we really are, is still the best in the end!

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