Rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy. « 1 Peter 1:8

Mr. Davidson lived next to the park where we neighborhood children played all summer. Unfortunately, wayward softballs routinely crushed his flowers, and occasionally a baseball crashed through his large front window during an evening Little League game. Mr. Davidson was scary. We would go as a group to retrieve balls, not wanting anyone to experience his anger alone. The minute we stepped into his yard, he would run out the door, yelling and shaking his fist. Once he even chased us out of the yard waving a lead pipe. Now here’s the ironic thing: Mr. Davidson had a sign in his yard that said JESUS SAVES and another sign on his front door that said WHERE WILL YOU SPEND ETERNITY?

I am confused by grumpy Christians. How did Mr. Davidson mesh “Rejoice in the Lord always” with yelling obscenities at children? How would he explain the command to “love your neighbor as yourself” and swinging a lead pipe at those neighbors?

I’m guessing there were significant reasons Mr. Davidson was not filled with joy, and I am sad that the message “Jesus saves” did not put a smile on his face and a song in his heart. I wish Mr. Davidson had been filled with that kind of joy described by the writer of the Psalms: “Sing to the Lord … for [God] has done marvelous things. Make a joyful noise to the Lord [and] break forth into joyous song. Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who live in it. Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing together for joy at the presence of the Lord.”3

Massanari Breeze, Cindy. 2012. Dive: Devotions for Deeper Living. Harrisonburg, VA: Herald Press.

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