Doing the Right Thing the Wrong Way
“. . . We have come from a far country; . . .” Joshua 9:6
A lie, God hates it. Because He is the very essence of light, in Him there is no darkness at all.
The harsh reality of the choice of the Gibeonites to lie is they could’ve gained protection without the deception. The law of Moses stated (Deuteronomy 20:10-18) that any city within the boundary of the conquering city who willingly surrendered could be given refuge and that the inhabitance was to be spared.
This story helps us to understand that the Gibeonites choice to survive was a right thing done the wrong way. The lesson here is worth remembering.
We should avoid doing good things in a bad way. This is a common fault of many. Often the grace in acts of kindness is lost by an ungracious way of doing them. We give, but with reluctance. We confess mistakes, but do it in a snippy, sarcastic and sullen manner. We express regret, but not for the mistake, instead, for the inconvenience of having to acknowledge it. We take the thoughtful advice of faithful believers, but do so begrudgingly. We act compassionately, but we delay it. Delayed obedience is disobedience. We yield our heart to God, but in defiance and only as a last resort. We do the right thing, but only after trying to find a way from not doing it at all.
So the Gibeonites rightly submit, but make the submission in a wrong way, using falsehood and pretense, taking away from Israel the grace of generosity and the friendly spirit that would have been extended towards them.
Don’t blame them for their choice to lie, but remember, that every fault is a mirror. We each may see ourselves in this story. We are more like the Gibeonites than we care to admit, in that some bad seems to creep into our choices and mix with the good. Because of God’s mercy, such mixture may not be fatal, but it always takes the edge off the blessings of God.
In what area of life are you doing the right thing the wrong way? What are you gonna do about it?