High Strikers

brown lamb standing on grass

What if everything we spoke in secret was played over a loudspeaker each morning to everyone we know? Tzara’at (leprosy) is a spiritual sickness, not a physical one. No one today gets this moldy exposure in their homes, on their clothing, or skin. If this were available today, the world would be ridden with it because we have no filters. A curse word or a tattoo in my adolescence had a different meaning than today. But sometimes we can curse without saying one vulgar word. Sometimes we are marked with leprosy that no ink gun can give.

Yeshua was and is the Great Physician. One day he was sitting, eating, and drinking with the sick. Their sickness was not physical but spiritual. “And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His taught ones, “Why does He eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And hearing this, יהושע (Yeshua) said to them, “Those who are strong (healthy) have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous to repentance, but sinners.” (Mark 2:16-17, ISR).

Have you ever been to the doctor and had a bad experience? Perhaps their bedside manner was not very refined, or they lacked compassion, empathy, or worse, they decided all your aliments were your fault or a figment of your imagination. They would not listen to your problems. They offered no oil for your bruises and no prescription for your pain. My husband used to have a family doctor who was obese. My husband was not feeling well. He had high stress on his job, high blood pressure, and multiple issues that had taken a toll on him. He was roughly 25-pounds overweight. His physician was a good 75 pounds overweight but was very stern with him and a tad sarcastic about his weight. He told my husband he needed to lose weight and start an exercise regimen. Was the doctor aware of his own condition? How can we see to get rid of a splinter in our neighbors’ eye if we have a plank in our own? Words are powerful. What if we had to pour our words through a water purification system before speaking them?

“The Hebrew word for a prophet, navi ( Nun-Beit-Yod-Alef) comes from the term niv sefatayim meaning “fruit of the lips,” which emphasizes the prophet’s role as a speaker.”

Fruit of the lips: Take a seed and plant it in the earth. Water the seed and make sure it is planted where it can get sunlight. It will grow, but what kind of fruit will it produce?

Jeremiah said, “Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease? You have planted them, and they have taken root; they grow and bear fruit. You are always on their lips but far from their hearts” (Jeremiah 12:1-2).

person holding orange fruit during daytime

A good tree cannot produce bad fruit. A bad tree cannot produce good fruit. Yeshua went on to explain, we will know them by their fruit. How? I once bought a beautiful pink lady apple. I brought it home and cut into it, and the inside was rotten. Fruit can be deceiving. This apple had the appearance of beauty to the eye of the beholder but was rotten to the core.

Picture a carnival and the sledgehammer game.

“A high striker, also known as a strength tester, or strongman game, is an attraction used in funfairs, amusement parks, fundraisers, and carnivals. It operates by utilizing the lever where one end holds a puck attached to the tower and the other end is struck by the person or contestant using a hammer or mallet. The aim of players is to ring the bell suspended on top of the tower. If the lever is struck with enough force, the puck will rise high enough to hit the bell, indicating a success.” (Wiki)

Are we high strikers, striking the cheeks of the sick, the lost, the immature person we used to be? Our words can strike with such force they are received like a hammer. Adonai’s word is a hammer breaking the rocks in pieces, but are we using our words in a manner where we think the bell ringing is a sign of strength when its actual weakness?

Examples with sarcasm/pride: “I really told them!” Boy, I let them have it with my political/ spiritual knowledge.” “I set those Christians straight about how they are not saying His Name correct, keeping His Calendar, Feasts, etc.” “I told them they were celebrating pagan holidays and full of evil.” “Yes, I pointed out all their wicked ways, as I was instructed to do just that by the Holy Spirit.” Hmm. Really?

Are we suffering from the strong man?

2 Person Hi Striker Carnival Game - Lets Party

Has anyone ever changed a person’s mind by posting a nasty meme or a post with condemnation? Even Nathan knew a parable about a little ewe lamb would have more weight than his finger-pointing. He spoke for Adonai. He did not slander David all over the Kingdom but went to him in private. Even David’s enemy, Saul, hunting him down with an army daily, was spoken of by David at death with honor and respect, but many today will murder a dead man with their lips. David could have said “Praise Yah! that no good, lying, witch of Endor seeking sinner is dead!” Instead, he said this:

“Saul and Jonathan, beloved and pleasant in their life,

            And in their death they were not parted;

            They were swifter than eagles,

            They were stronger than lions.

      “O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,

            Who clothed you luxuriously in scarlet,

            Who put ornaments of gold on your apparel.” (II Samuel 1:23-24).

How to speak involves many layers. In the Book of Timothy, we see a list of words for leadership to follow. “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and encourage with every form of patient instruction” (II Timothy 4:2).

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law “(Galatians 5:22-23, BSB).

Rebuke: “The definition of rebuke = to scold or criticize or reprimand someone for their actions.

“You shall surely rebuke your neighbor and incur no sin because of this person” (Leviticus 19:17). But who is our neighbor?

Knowing who, when, how, and why to rebuke is the key. “To correct a troublemaker or rebuke a wicked person is to bring down abuse on oneself. Do not rebuke a scoffer, for that person will hate you. Reprove a wise person, and that person will love you.” (Proverbs 9:7-8)

“Those who rebuke find favor and a good blessing falls upon them.” (Proverbs 24:25)

“Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed.”

A loving friendship that never has rebuke (correction) is really not a friendship. But rebuking involves mercy and tact, and receiving a rebuke involves humility. A mocker such as King Ahab, who rebuked Elijah, was given a sterner rebuke back. His blaming the prophet for famine and calling him a troublemaker was due to his lack of looking in a mirror.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” (Proverbs 27:5-6).

Septuagint, “More to be trusted are the wounds of a friend than the spontaneous (ἑκούσια) kisses of an enemy.”

Judas seals the deal with a kiss. We often picture Judas as the evil villain, but he was right there listening, collecting baskets of bread and fish, watching blind eyes open, and yes, betraying the Son of God and then hanging himself. The villain in Esther hanged himself too by his own cords.

(Proverbs 14:1) “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.” Remember, a hand in Hebrew is also a mouth.

Are we hanging ourselves due to our words?

man wearing black cap with love your neighbour print during daytime

 Have you ever kissed someone and then betrayed them? Have we as a Body allowed a spirit of Judas to live in our hearts?  Have you ever wounded a friend? Did the friend, like Peter, need wounding? Did you do it in front of the group or go around behind Peter’s back and whisper about how immature he acted. How he isn’t fit for leadership? That would have been more harmful than correcting him in front of them. The darkness is exposed to light; Peter can repent and do what he should have been doing. The matter ends. No one needs to gossip about Peter.  We better start getting this right. It is past time!

The harlot seals the deal with a kiss too.

“And there a woman met him,

With the attire of a harlot and a crafty heart.

She was loud and rebellious,

Her feet would not stay at home.

At times she was outside, at times in the open square,

Lurking at every corner.

So she caught him and kissed him”

Has Abba Father kissed you with the kisses of His Mouth, or has the harlot enticed you with her lips? HOW we speak tells others who we have been kissing, how we’ve been kissing, and where we’ve been kissing.

There are many ways to say something. How we speak, when, where, and to whom matters. How we speak also involves who is in front of us, our audience.

Who:

Who is in front of you? Is it a broken woman with an alabaster box of perfume that the leaders consider a whore? A child (this can be a newborn believer or a literal child) is a demonized man in a graveyard who cuts himself? Is it a leader who is harsh and judgmental? Is it a leper?  A friend? A drug addict. A king (David/ Nathan). A politician (Herod). An educated scholar? The list goes on and on. 

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a ringing gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have absolute faith so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and exult in the surrender of my body, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (I Cor. 13:1-3).

In Part Two, we will look at how to answer a fool in his folly and more.

Sources: all Photos by Zoltan Tasi, Lesley Juarez, Engin Akurt, Nina strehl,
Camila Damásio, except high striker.

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