Enigma is a word the dictionary defines as something that is
puzzling or inexplicable that happens that contains a contradictory
character. It could be something with a hidden meaning or a riddle.
In the Bible there is an example of enigma given to us from a wise
king of Israel, Solomon. In the book of the Bible credited to him,
in Ecclesiastes, we read the following:
"While applying my mind to everything that happens in this world, I
have seen all this: Sometimes one person dominates other people to
their harm. Not only that, but I have seen the wicked approaching
and entering the temple, and as they left the holy temple, they
boasted in the city that they had done so." —
This also is an enigma.
"When a sentence is not executed at once against a crime, the human
heart is encouraged to do evil. Even though a sinner might commit a
hundred crimes and still live a long time, yet I know that it will
go well with God-fearing people — for they stand in fear before him.
But it will not go well with the wicked, nor will they prolong their
days like a shadow, because they do not stand in fear before God." —
"Here is another enigma that occurs on earth: Sometimes there are
righteous people who get what the wicked deserve, and sometimes
there are wicked people who get what the righteous deserve. I said,
'This also is an enigma.'" —
These are basic observations made by a wise King, Solomon, who sat
at a vantage point to see causes and effects in relationships during
daily commerce. While looking for the most obvious consequence to a
situation or action, sometimes there is quite the opposite outcome.
It seems that we have perfected these three enigmas to the point
that they are almost folded into one repeated process in our more
modern, highly "evolved" society. In fact they are often woven
together in such a way as to serve as the basis for a good
television series or movie drama that may even win an award. Think
again of the three enigmas: 1. Domineering manipulation of another
to enhance personal standing, but bring harm to another; 2. Even
when found guilty with a sentence given, prolong the execution of
that sentence sometimes for years through a long, arduous appeal
process; and 3. The suffering of victims being greater than the
convicted perpetrator of the crime.
These enigmas are present in many forms these days. Think of the
so-called Ponzi schemes. The individual manipulates others to invest
money with a promise of much higher returns than normal. The
investor's money is usually lost while the person initiating the
scheme lives the life of pleasure and wealth sometimes for many
years. Even when caught and convicted of the crime, the perpetrator
may spend years in prison, but he leaves behind hundreds of broken
lives for people who have lost everything.
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Another example is the politician who has national standing who
engages in behaviors of immoral ineptitude by manipulating those
around them as they seek personal pleasures. Even when discovered,
they often only suffer "sanctions," while the other person loses all
credibility and reputation for years into the future. From these
examples come the so-called made-for-TV mini-series that sometimes
win awards and make celebrities of people.
Ultimately, as in our society, the constellations of enigmas bring
down the character and moral fortitude of the individual. It becomes
expected behavior, almost rising to the "normal." People begin to
lose respect for those in power or authority positions. Celebrities
who practice such things become role models for the youth to
emulate. It cheapens the fabric of the society and reduces the moral
standing to an X-rated existence viewed by others from around the
Good King Solomon concludes that the person who respects God and His
workings on earth should look for the joy in the short life on earth
and accept the good things God gives as gifts because the temporal
world around him is so full of sin. Much later the Apostle Paul
writes that we should not live a life of sin, following the pattern
of enigma, but to live in the Spirit of God.
The apostle wrote to the Christians at Rome that they should turn
away from the darkness of sin and live in the daylight.
"Let us live decently as in the daytime, not in carousing and
drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in discord
and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no
provision for the flesh to arouse its desires." —
We need to seek out those who have yielded themselves to Christ and
have made Him their Lord in life. Our associations should be those
who encourage us to live lives of high moral character, turning away
from the practice of enigmas that bring harm to others. From that
strong association with the gathering of God's people, we need to
share His love, mercy and grace with others who continue to be lost
in a world of enigmas.
[By JIM KILLEBREW]
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