But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another: “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.” For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard.’
“Damned if you do and damned if you don’t”, is how we might say it today. Jesus has encountered a cynicism and negativity in his people. Dance to the flute? No. Join in the dirge? No. Feast? No. Fast? No. Lots of “no”.
We can fall into lots of “no” at times, into cynicism and negativity. Into scorn and contempt. This can be toxic and corrosive to the soul—and to the people we live with.
Some things we must say no to: war, abuse, violence, disease… But fundamentally, we are meant to say “yes”. We are meant to find our way to all that we can say yes to. We have an inner compass that can lead us to all we can say yes to.
We are meant for yes. This is the mind of Christ. 2 Cor. 1:19: “…in [Jesus Christ] it is always ‘yes’”. Of course, Jesus said no to some things: commerce in the temple, for example. But, fundamentally, the mind of Christ searches out all that we can say yes to. In the world around us. In the people around us. Especially in the people around us. If we’re in a cynical or scornful funk, we’ve gotten off track; we do not have the mind of Christ.
Some things we must say no to. But there is a way to say no that says yes to something else. We are meant for yes. For flute playing and dancing. Yes. For mourning and wailing. Yes, at the right time. For feasting and fasting. Yes. Unto everything there is a season. We are meant for yes, we are meant to live in the yes which is Jesus Christ himself.
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