Sermons

Summary: Cynicism was never a virtue

Some noteworthy instances of mistaken identity involving Jesus Christ are found at Luke 24:36-38 and St.John 20:14-15. To the disciples he was an unidentified ghost and Mary thought he was a gardener. The events of Luke 24:13-35 are also significant. Later the Bible tells us : Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

There is a saying that Vice is often clothed in virtue's habit. And I guess that impulsive reactions of the wrong sort may sometimes cause one to mistake a good person of one sort for a bad or insignificant person of another sort. E.g. mistake an enlightened freethinker for a self-willed rebel, or mistake an impressive writer for an ostentatious boaster, or mistake a peace loving person for a lazy idler, or mistake a tranquil person for an apathetic one, etcetera. Whatever is desired or feared is easily believed. There is a relevant anecdote from Aesop. It reads like this :

THE IRONY OF FATE : A thirsty stag came to a spring, and after drinking noticed his own reflection in the water. He felt proud of his great and curiously fashioned antlers but was dissatisfied with his slender looking legs. While he was lost in thought a lion appeared and ran to him. He fled and easily outdistanced it, for the deer's strength is in his legs, the lion's in his courageous heart. As long as the ground was open the stag kept safely in front, but when they reached woodland his antlers got entangled in the branches of a tree. He could not run farther and was caught by the lion. As he was about to be killed, 'Alas' he thought, my legs which I feared would fail me were my preservation and the antlers that filled me with such confidence are destroying me. CRUX: It often happens that when we are in danger the friends whose loyalty we doubted prove our saviours, while those in whom we put implicit trust betray us.

The Penguin Dictionary of Proverbs warns : Fear is a great inventor. Thinking is very far from knowing. Faults are thick where love is thin. Where love fails we espy all faults.

George Warner

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