It is so easy for “words to live by” to fall from the tongue that gives us an excuse or reason for our action. Some are just funny sayings. Some contain profound elements of truth.
A couple of these come to mind that are timeless in their use. We may all have used them on occasion;
The first is, “Don”t look a gift horse in the mouth”. I don’t know about you, but I never have. It just strikes me as not being all that sanitary. In reality, however, it is to say; don’t be ungreatful. Don’t look for more by examining to asess it’s real value.
My granddaughter just gave her tired, and retired Rodeo horse to a freind of her mother. It had been put out to pasture some ten years previous. The horse had become troublesome around other horses- even a bit dangerous. There had been frequent vet bills in the process. The new owner loves her- she has not to my knowlege, looked in her mouth yet. She thanked Amber profusely.
The second saying, somewhat allied is, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you”, which says, more generously, something like; ” treat others well, especially those who are in a position of power and authority”, This is a bit like “give unto Ceasar”.
We can, as Christians, hardly escape measuring these sayings to biblical wisdom and truth. Both call for gratitude, a cornerstone of faith, when we are served. But, both sayings can be the subject of scrutiny when we accept gifts. If we exercise poor judgement in assessing why something is free, or challenging it’s real value. It may be a matter of hidden agenda. The “Trojan Horse” comes to mind. “Beware of Greeks (and others) bearing gifts”. The belly of the beast was full of soldiers who would soon destroy the city.
In the case of “biting the hand”; respecting those in power who have just “given” you something…. we may count that also as a Trojan Horse that may in fact bite us. To be just a bit cynical, there are very few things of lasting value that are free of obligation or strings. An exception would be God’s love that comes first and unconditional. Other than that, it is in the
motive and not the horses mouth. We must judge all things in respect to God’s plan for us.
Many of us have begun to see a political discourse coming. Well, in short; if gifts of any kind cause us to surrender our freedom to worship, each in our own way, or regulate our choices by trading off God’s intention for us a individuals or as a nation, we certainly must look deep into the mouth of that gift; perhaps even take a nip out of that devious hand. If we find even just a shadow of Satan in there… we may just have to reach for our armour.