It has been a while since I last posted. Trying to get back in the saddle... so-to-speak :)
I noticed this news feed this morning: “Clown Concerns: Parents plan to be armed while trick-or-treating.” Heaven forbid someone should err and dress up as a clown this season. What in the wide-world of American culture has happened to clowns? When I was growing up, clowns tended to be funny, some doing illusions and more… like giving out cool stuff, like candy and prizes. Some clowns were better than others, but they were just clowns; goofy and sometimes fun. But then when my son was young, he was freaked out by them, even when he recognized their voices. And since then, I’ve learned that actually quite a few folks have phobias towards clowns. And then… there are the really creepy, sick ones… the ones who dress up and attempt to lure and hurt or molest children. After a couple of recently reported such episodes, it seems we now have clown hunts, and people packing.
So, all clowns are creepy and bad, right? Goodness, just what is hidden behind those silly and sometimes freaky masks? Should we shoot first and ask questions later? Are they the modern day cultural equivalent of the Salem witches? Of course not, but then we seem to be often fooled by those who wear masks.
Over the years I have gotten to know people who truly love children and wanted to make them happy, even minister to them by being clowns. I learned that there are actually clown courses, and that many are registered as clowns, even registering their own special clown name. They became clowns because their hearts were in the right place.
So many people wear masks and costumes today; some we love, some we’re freaked out over, and some we really don’t think much, if any, about. What about the folks who dress up like professional athletes? What about those who dress up to make a living as pop stars, singing sensations and musicians? The stars on TV or the big screen? What about those who want our votes? Where are their hearts? Any clue? Are you looking past the masks?
Let’s bring it closer… what about the folks who smile at you, say nice things to your face, profess to be “spiritual”, but then you find something sharp sticking in your back-side? Should we all pack some heat and go a clown hunting? Though it might not be as cool as the thought of going all Dirty Harry or Jack Reacher, I’d like to propose something a bit more practical and less likely to get you all jacked up with the law. How about we dig deep into our faith and trust in our God? He warns us about people like them. Jesus talked quite a bit about some folks He called “hypocrites”, religious types that had no more understanding of God than I do about molecular biology or brain surgery; no more relationship with God than I have with our President or Lady Ga-Ga. He warned us about wolves who dress up like sheep. But how can we know the difference between the genuine and the fake… the dangerous?
God and His Word offer to give us wisdom (James 1:5) and discernment (Hebrews 5:14). Our God told a prophet named Samuel, “The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) God looks past the masks, the fake smiles, and deceitful tongues, and examines the heart. He sees what all too often we cannot, at least in the moment. But then do you know His Word? Did you know it tells us that there are things we can in fact see?
Behavior can be a pretty good indicator of someone’s heart, particularly when it is persistent and/or consistent. So can the things that come out of our mouths (Luke 6:45). I read this in the excellent “Walk in the Word” daily devotional: “A man cannot claim his heart is kind if his words are unkind. He cannot claim his heart embraces heaven's values if his mouth speaks the values of the world. The heart is a reservoir and the mouth a faucet. When the faucet is turned on, whatever is in the reservoir comes out.” So very, very true.
Don’t be freaked out by clowns. There are other predators out yonder that are just as dangerous. But packing a piece is not as effective as knowing God’s Word. Do you? It might just save you a world of grief and heartache. Our lives, and the lives of those we love and care about are nothing to clown around with; just saying.