Defining Moments

Mentioning the name of Vice President Dick Cheney now prompts irreverent attempts at humor. Since the news of his accidental shooting of a hunting companion last week, comedians all across our land have been cracking jokes at Cheney’s expense. Time may erase the memories of this unfortunate incident. Or, based on memories of President Jimmy Carter’s confrontation with a “killer rabbit” in 1979, this may have been a defining moment for Dick Cheney.
“Defining moments” are critical junctures in our lives when decisions must be made. Making the right decision could mean the difference between a legacy of respect or being the subject of never-ending jokes or perhaps scorn. In more serious situations, one’s decision may have consequences for personal welfare or the well-being of others. As evidence, consider Pontius Pilate’s decision to hand over Jesus to the desire of the Jews. (Why have you never met anyone named Pilate?)
Joseph faced such a defining moment when Potiphar’s wife aggressively sought his partnership in sin. His response rewarded him with perpetual honor. What did he do that was so honorable? He fled. And why did he not cooperate with her pleasure-filled plans? “Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:8,9, NKJV)
Not everyone responds with such wisdom, as seen in Ecclesiastes 10:1: “Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, and cause it to give off a foul odor; so does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor.” In comparison with the bottle of perfume, the dead fly is tiny. But try selling that perfume at full value when the fly is obvious to all! In the same way, a few moments of “folly” are all it takes to destroy a good reputation. Though one may live many years longer, the foolish act will never be forgotten.
Perhaps most sobering of all is the fact that defining moments are not always recognized in advance. It’s hard to see the consequences that will follow from this seemingly little act. That’s why it’s imperative that we seek the Lord’s guidance in every situation of life. The one time we decide to leave the Lord’s way for a moment of sinful pleasure could become our defining moment.
The numerous examples of once-honored people who now serve as fodder for jokes affirm that this point should not be lightly dismissed. “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1).

One thought on “Defining Moments

  1. In the context of the story that began with Cheney’s inability to shoot
    straight, it is true that humor can often stick with a person and ruin
    their reputation.
    But I think the writer of the article might have used a better example
    than Cheney to show how humor can warp a good name.
    One must have a good name first to warp it. It is like losing our faith
    — we must first have a faith to do that.
    There is a scripture in Isaiah 5 that reads
    20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute
    darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for
    sweet, and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe to those who are wise in their own
    eyes, And clever in their own sight!”
    I personally cannot find any good in the evil of war under the pretence
    of doing good.
    This past week, Osama bin Laden, surfaced again to say that he is still
    bewildered why the Bush-Cheney regime attacked Iraq under the pretence
    that they were attacking those who killed 3000 people in New York in
    2001?
    I realize that evil cowardly men like Laden take pleasure in killing
    every U.S. citizen they can for the wrong reasons, but I also realize
    that sometimes some evil cowardly men do tell the truth otherwise why
    would anyone follow such men at all if all they told was false?
    When Laden declared this past week that the Bush-Cheney white house was
    more evil and crueler to the people of Iraq than Saddam Hessian had ever
    been by attacking a nation for the wrong reasons, it just confirmed what
    many of us believed was true in 2002, and is true today, that it wrong by
    our remaining there.
    It has taken 200 years to develop our brand democracy our national
    leaders feel the world must have to survive. There are many nations that
    survive without democracy and get along just fine.
    Is our brand of it more honorable and honest and without corruption?
    History will record that Cheney’s influence over a naive and arrogant
    Bush to rush to war was nothing more than a blank check for the evil
    business men of America and the world to get richer and build bigger
    barns to hold their wealth. Families on all sides have suffered and
    continue to suffer by losing their members blown to bits or maimed for
    life.
    Those in Iraq “are getting what they deserve” claim the war mongers,
    while the young men in our uniforms are “getting medals for valor as
    Heros”. HELLO?
    Eccl 3:
    1 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for
    every event under heaven–
    2 A time to give birth, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time
    to uproot what is planted.
    3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to
    build up.
    4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to
    dance.
    5 A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to
    embrace, and a time to shun embracing.
    6 A time to search, and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep, and a
    time to throw away.
    7 A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; A time to be silent,
    and a time to speak.
    8 A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war, and a time for
    peace.
    9 What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils?
    When the time is not right for war, war is evil and those who start those
    wars are evil.
    It is one thing to defend a nation against tyranny and aggression and
    quite another to ignore caution and the consequences of attacking for all
    the wrong reasons an evil nation. Evil nations have many in it who are
    not evil people in and of themselves.
    When our nation was attacked with airplanes, I remember Cheney went
    underground hiding for months. What kind of a leader hides under ground
    when his nation is in danger? Saddam was found in a hole in the ground!
    Where was Cheney?
    When all of the Allied military intelligence (an oxymoron) concluded that
    Weapons of Mass destruction was justification to attack a nation and
    destroy its infrastructure, imagine who was more surprised than Saddam?
    Now we know his motive was to get the world to believe he had such
    weapons “so that his neighbors would not attack him”. What he thought
    would protect him wound up destroying him.
    And worse what Bush and Cheney falsely told our nation was that because
    Saddam had WMD we would not be attacked either by attacking him first in
    spite of a room full of doubts.
    Which is worse? A tyrant who lies he has them or a war monger who
    believes a tyrant’s lies?
    I find no honor in our totally inept administration and I find no
    scriptural wisdom in comparing them with good and calling their evil good
    under the pretense of being politically correct.
    I believe the scriptures teach us that a small honorable deed by Joseph
    to flee was a far far greater decision than Pilate’s cowardly decision to
    cave in by doing evil.
    My reaction to Cheney’s misery from shooting his millionaire friend,
    without a hunting license, was far less sympathetic than his decision to
    rush us into a war where many friends are shot and killed daily, going
    for on 4 years.
    Bush and Cheney have dug a hole the history books will fill with
    criticisms — much more than the humor of their stupidity.
    “Humor” is much better than the grim disaster of “Smart” bombs.

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