Not “pau” yet

This morning I really struggled at church. The message was on Psalm 73. The pastor spoke dissected it, nearly line by line, as he gave examples of what that would be like nowadays. The “arrogant” are people with fancy cars and jobs and they have big houses and they’re never sick and nothing bad ever happens to them. He spoke of how we can question God, asking why we should follow him if life is so hard for us and we’re good. Why not just live how we want to and disregard God if, apparently, we’ll be blessed that way?

But, it all gets better because those suckers, those arrogant folks, well, “surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin.”(Psalm 73:18 NIV)

And while that’s something that I know does happen and I know is just, the pastor’s next words shocked me. He said, multiple times with every example he gave, “well,we know their end now, don’t we?!”

And I was disgusted. I felt sick that he would rejoice over a death or a downfall, even if it was for the wicked or unjust. Don’t they, whoever they are, as God’s people, deserve grace? Don’t they deserve at least the kindness of prayer for their heart?

I had thought all this while listening to him speak of vague examples. Then he said, “well now, how about Tiger Woods? We know his end now, don’t we?”

And I wanted to stand up and shout that it’s not his end! He’s not dead. He still lives and breathes and feels and hurts. Shouldn’t our action be to pray and encourage and love? We should not be rejoicing in his fall and in his brokenness. If we do, where does that leave us?

In a book I read as a teenager I remember the two main characters talking about their friend who had made some bad choices. One character said it was sad that the friend’s life was over now that she was pregnant as a teenager. The other friend corrected her, saying that she was not finished, she was not “pau” (finished in Hawaiian) yet. Her life was far from over. Until she was dead, there was time to love and pray and encourage.

What should our reaction be to an arrogant person’s downfall? Are we arrogant by calling other people arrogant? 🙂


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