John 15:18-19 - (Jesus said) "If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you."
Depending on how old you are, you memorized Luther's meaning to the Eighth Commandment this way:
1. we should "put the best construction on everything" or
2. we should say "everything in the kindest way."
Remember that. It is going to be important.
One of the rites of passage for high-schoolers is the senior prom. From what I remember, it is either the best of times or the worst of times. Well, recently, some young folks in Oakland, California, went to prom. At the beginning of their date, they went out to dinner at the local Longhorn Steakhouse.
A candid photo taken by one of the teen's moms showed them all holding hands and bowing their heads in thanksgiving to their Lord and Savior. Impressed, mom sent the photo to a journalist friend, and he put it on Facebook. As he did so, he voiced approval of these young folks who had shown some old-time values.
Luther would have been pleased with the journalist who "put the best construction on everything."
Well, people looked at that photo and soon began to voice their own impressions. Here's just a few of those comments which were inspired by a single photo of teens praying.
1. "Saying grace over your food says nothing of your moral compass, integrity or character ... Behaving well at a restaurant while in your late teens, and being considerate to people, should not be Facebook praise worthy."
2. A second said, "My guess is their opinions on gay marriage, interracial families, equal rights, and other things we hold dear might not thrill you." (How he could know their opinions on these topics from a picture I cannot say. Still it got worse.)
3. One person commented: "So now we are supposed to praise kids for praying to an invisible man in the sky for animals that were slaughtered so they could eat?"
4. Because of space the last one I'll share is "I'm so tired of the arrogance many religious people display and their disdain for non-believers. If you are confidant [sic] in your beliefs, then you don't feel the need to 'save' everyone else."
Amazing! Nobody knows what was said in this before-dinner prayer. Most certainly, none of those teens were proselytizing anyone, and I can't see any disrespect. Even so, that's what some of those very angry people see in that picture. So much for the "best construction on everything."
According to our passage above, we shouldn't be surprised. When Jesus walked among us, He was despised and rejected, scorned, and made sport of. In spite of all that, He continued on, offering Himself for our salvation. Now He asks His people to follow in His footsteps, enduring the world's hatred, so souls may see the wonderful transformation the Holy Spirit brings to once sinful -- but now saved -- human hearts.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, help us live our lives in a way which pleases You and does not cater to the world. Let me turn aside the world's hatred and do all I can to put the best construction on everything. This I ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Michael Bartiromo on April 27, 2018, for FOX News. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: http://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/2018/04/26/pic-teens-pre-prom-prayer-sparks-anger-surprising-reporter-who-posted-it.html
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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