Columbo and Christian Love
Monday, August 28, 2017
If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have your fill of it and vomit it. Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor’s house, lest he have his fill of you and hate you.
Remember Lieutenant Columbo? For more than twenty years, he entertained us with his rumpled raincoat, half smoked cigar, rusty Peugeot, and idiosyncratic ways. Detective Columbo always got his man, or woman, no matter how cleverly they covered their tracks. How he did it proves the point of this proverb.
Columbo solved every case by being persistently, obnoxiously present. At first, the suspect suspects nothing. But there’s Lt. Columbo—showing up at the most inopportune moments, interrupting busy people, going on about his personal life (especially his never-present wife!) instead of getting to the point, and just when they think he’s finally gone, he turns at the door and says, “Oh, I almost forgot, just one more quick question.” It’s all very unnerving. The suspect, like Solomon’s neighbor, soon has his fill of Columbo, and hates him.
What works for Detective Columbo can destroy relationships. Persistent presence can seem demanding, intrusive, inconsiderate, taxing, and tiresome. Solomon says it’s like eating too much of a good food: If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have your fill of it and vomit it. You know what that’s like, Solomon says, so don’t be like that!
You probably have some “Columbo” in your life. If you do, pray for them and practice patience—and maybe you will need to speak the truth in love. But—be honest—are you a “Columbo” in someone else’s life? If so, remember that constant presence undermines Christian love.
Welcome to Christ Church this Lord’s Day. You, O Lord, are righteous in all your ways, and kind in all your works. Make me righteous in my ways, and kind in all my works (Ps. 145:17).
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