I do devotions online with some friends each morning. Our Scripture this morning was Psalms 1:1-6. Check out the first verse: Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.
This week I learned that two good people passed. One I knew “of” and respected - Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court Justice. He was a staunch defender of the Constitution, believing that what the authors and framers of the Constitution wrote, they meant. Popularized in the last few decades, however, is the notion that the Constitution is a “living document”, thus enabling our justices to reinterpret it to mean whatever they believe it should mean (which gave us several controversial rulings such as Roe v. Wade, and their ruling last June regarding marriage). And there are many who think that is a great idea. But knowing that if one breaks the rules enough, the rules end up being meaningless… I wonder if those who practice and believe that is a good idea really understand how foolish, even wicked that really is? Whether one calls them liberal, or progressive, or whatever, I would call them truly foolish. Someday I have no doubt they, as Americans, will turn to the Constitution to address or to seek remedy for something they are desperately concerned about, but it won’t help them… not at all. There will be little of it left that has any sound/absolute meaning. What might seem joyful and good advise now, will tragically eventually be used against them. Those who mock the likes of Justice Scalia today will themselves tragically become the victims of their own mockery. History is not their friend.
The other person I not only respected, I knew her. Her name is Lettie; and she was a dear friend. Lettie was part of the Pastoral Search Committee that brought me to this church. Over the years I often sought her counsel, seeing great wisdom in her. I would also often contact her for specific prayer. I knew that whatever I asked her to pray about, she would take right to the God she knew. Lettie didn’t just talk about God, she knows Him. And now she knows Him face-to-face. Lettie lived her life - as I knew it for the last 13+ years - teaching and sharing, and defending God’s Word. Her last morning was spent with my wife, praying during and for the morning Worship Service. Even in some of our difficult times here at the church, I never knew Lettie to “follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.” Instead she worked hard to turn hearts to Christ and His Word. The last time I saw Lettie - the very day of her home going - she had a smile and a countenance of joy… authentic joy.
I would loved to have known personally Justice Scalia. He truly seemed to be a man of character. And our Constitution; it proclaims freedom for us who are Americans. But I will be frank; I look around, and I don’t see a whole lot of freedom in my neighbors; and I seldom see much that could be truly described as joy.
I knew Lettie. Though she struggled with the loss of her husband and one of her sons; and of late with aches, pains, and the effects of growing older, I could not picture a person who was more free or joyful. She was confident in her future. Lettie, like many of us, enjoyed the benefits of our Constitution, but much more than that, she trusted in, believed in, and practiced the most important “document” of all, God’s Word - the Bible. As many will attest that knew her, Lettie “delight[ed] in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.” (v. 2)
I never got to know Justice Scalia; but I have to say, I loved hanging out with Lettie. I never walked away without a greater sense of joy and peace. Who do you hang out with? Are they people of character? Do they know the Lord… truly know the Lord? Do they live it… for real? As the old saying goes, we can’t choose our family, but we can choose our friends. I hope you have friends who don’t know Christ. But do you guard your heart and mind, or do you follow their advice? Are you looking to share Christ, or just standing around with sinners? Are your words, words of life and hope in the Gospel, or do you simply join in with the mockers? 1 Corinthians 15:33 says something that all of us should take to heart: “Bad company corrupts good character.” So again… Who are you hanging out with?
Our world is a sadder place because of the passing of these two wonderful people. But we can honor them, and more importantly our Lord, but being careful who we hang out with, who we listen to, and what we do with our own lives.