A phrase of warning used to prevent oneself or others from asking or doing something that might provoke a negative response from someone or something else.
Employee 1: “Should I ask the boss for a day off?”
Employee 2: “He just found out his wife left him, so don’t poke the bear.”
Or, maybe another way of putting it:
Church member1: “I know we have been sitting here with a flock of toddlers for 4 hours, but do you think it is a good idea to spend another hour asking vacuous questions, again, for the millionth time, to make sure people are paying attention to me?”
Church member 2: “No, that is a terrible idea. The bear over there has already had it with a litany of things this morning, such as saying that certain mental illnesses don’t even exist, and if you even so much as breathe on the bear, it might destroy you. You might want to save this for after service, with respect for the families with little kids!”
What would have been optimal is if the response was this:
Church member 1: “Oh, that is a much better idea. Thanks for the tip!”
Unfortunately, it was not. And I am doing clean up crew for the mess I made.
“Anger and wrath enter the lives of every one of us. But let us learn from Jesus to be “swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath” (James 1:19). Let us also learn that there is a time for righteous indignation. When there are those who stand between God and the true worship that is due Him—whether it be through false doctrine, hypocrisy, or any other vice—let us remember the example of the Lord and “be angry, yet sin not” (Ephesians 4:26).”
So, apparently I have reached the boundaries of my patience, and lost it in church yesterday. Lost. It. I remember in the film, “Patton,” Gen. George Patton was looking over the grave of a soldier he had just buried and wrote a letter to the soldier’s family. It was absolutely beautiful, and gets me every time I hear it. He said something along the lines of, “He was a good man, and had no vice.”
I would love for that to be said of me when I am remembered. Unfortunately, it isn’t a realistic goal.
I certainly don’t have huge, glaring vices like drugs or gambling. But the vices of hatred and pride are certainly ones I struggle with. I hate men who are abusive to women. Even a little bit. Easy enough, right? What if no one else has a problem with it? Hmm. I hate men who make younger women feel very sexually uncomfortable. Probably something to be angry about, as well. But he’s “just *name*.” Okay. I hate hypocrisy…even though I am a hypocrite and I hate that in myself as well. Anyone who says they aren’t a hypocrite is naive and blind. It’s as clear as that. But some days hypocrisy is tough to listen to. For hours. And hours.
And don’t even get me started on false teachers in the church. I’m already in a world of trouble as it is.
My prayers, my earnest prayers, for myself are, once again: humility. Maybe even meekness, if I really want to stretch myself.
So, that’s where I am, people. One giant, cuddly, flawed bear.