When Life Gives You Lemmings….
by Jonathan Hamilton
The correct solution in this scenario does not involve making lemming-ade. Even given my fondness for carnivorivity, I can’t imagine a universe in which a meat-based drink would be a good idea. And this admission comes from a guy whose gravy-to-food ratio at Sunday dinner often elevates these delightfully congealed liquefied meat droplets to a position approaching secondary beverage status.
What I actually have in mind is how to handle the lemmings, and their lemmingness, appropriately. I fear that if we do not have a strategy in place, we will not only capitulate to them, we will become them. Let me explain what I’m talking about.
We live in a culture in which rushing to emotionally charged judgments before the facts are wholly known is stock-in-trade behavior. This mindset has not been content to be merely patted on the head and accepted by the masses – no, this attitude is itself carnivorous, and demands that all good citizens allow themselves to be devoured.
This is what lemmings do. They rush along, or are swept away, not really knowing what is going on but insisting that they do. And if you do not leap into the frothing cesspool and check your unsettling logic (and certainly your moral conscience) at the door, you are not welcome to be a lemming. And because lemmings comprise mainstream society, you are therefore no longer welcome to take part in society either. You may avoid running with the lemmings off of their cliff, but they will certainly help you to find your own.
The problem with lemmingness is that it stands in direct contradiction to Scripture. How so?
I think the best example would be that of wisdom. Wisdom comprises an entire genre of literature in the Bible, and its most well-known section on the subject is, of course, the book of Proverbs. Proverbs speaks of wisdom from beginning to end. And when we get to the Gospels and see Christ clearly, it is in Him we find perfect wisdom personified.
And here’s the rub: wisdom simply leaves no room for lemmings. And lemmings certainly leave no room for wisdom. The two are incompatible. Hear the words of Proverbs 18 (ESV):
13 If one gives an answer before he hears,
it is his folly and shame.
17 The one who states his case first seems right,
until the other comes and examines him.
A biblical Christian seems to be between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, the lemmings, armed with pitchforks and lanterns (a truly silly looking bunch, don’t you think?) stand at the doors of the church shouting one last time for us to join them – or else. Choosing wisdom will be costly. On the other hand, if we join the lemmings we necessarily choose to abandon wisdom, the Scripture, and ultimately, the Faith.
One of these simply isn’t an option for Christians.
In the end, as always, it comes down to trust. Will we live the life of faith? The lemmings, though small, seem terrifying when there are millions of them squeaking in unison. But the Bible tells us our future. We know the promises. We know Who wins in the end. The final victory is so certain we can speak of it as if it has already happened.
God loves wisdom. God is wisdom (1 Cor 1:30). God gives wisdom to his children (and certainly so in hard times, Jas 1:5). And wisdom starts with fearing the Lord (Prv 9:10). Ironically, the best way to forfeit wisdom is to stop fearing the Lord and start fearing man. Don’t do it. Fear the Lord and walk in His ways. He promises you will not regret it (Ps 25).
Again, from Proverbs:
3:31 Do not envy a man of violence
and do not choose any of his ways,
32 for the devious person is an abomination to the Lord,
but the upright are in his confidence.
33 The Lord‘s curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous.
34 Toward the scorners he is scornful,
but to the humble he gives favor.
35 The wise will inherit honor,
but fools get disgrace.