June 28, 2013

“Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.  Dead flies make the perfumer’s ointment give off a stench; so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.”  Ecclesiastes 9:18-10:1

English: Jogging at Cranny Good for your healt...
English: Jogging at Cranny Good for your health, but sore on the joints. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am engaged in a personal battle with friction.

Friction becomes a problem through its application over the accumulation of time.  My skin can tolerate the friction that wears upon it for a 5K run.  There are no particularly unpleasant effects even for runs of the duration to cover 10K.  My issues arise at distances beyond 10K.

Beyond 10K, the swish-swish of my legs begins to have a noticeable effect.  Every slight swish from the passage of thigh against thigh belies the accumulative effect of rubbing and the resulting friction.  This accumulating effect results in a rash, chaffing and sores.  None of these results are pleasant.  They are particularly unpleasant when one considers that the location of this swishing is originating from where were my legs join the rest of me.

I considered various alternatives to “girding my loins”  but most had other drawbacks.  Therefore, I settled on lubrication.  I determined that the best way to defeat friction was to reduce the resistance associated with the swishing.  My plan was to apply some lotion to my nether-regions prior to my next long run and thereby defeat my nemesis of friction.

Last week, I prepared for my little experiment as the rest of the household slept.  I was fully clothed in my running gear and went into our bathroom for the lotion treatment.  Unfortunately, there was no lotion on the countertop.  I fumbled through my wife’s cabinet in search of my secret weapon.  There was no lotion to be found.  Undeterred, I commenced my search again only this time seeking any sort of lubricating agent.  This search was quickly rewarded with a white bottle whose orange label read, “Absorbine, Veterinary Liniment Gel”.

“Gel”, that will be lubricating, I reasoned.  The label explained that this gel contains botanical extracts and is pleasant to use.  Great!  My search had put me behind schedule.  I needed to get on the run or I would be late for work.  I hurriedly squirted a generous amount of the gel on my hand and slathered it all over the region of concern.

I immediately felt a stinging sensation.  Initially, I thought it was just from the rash of my last run.  Curiosity transformed to concern as the stinging took on a very distinct awareness of rising heat.  My head snapped up to stare at the image in the mirror, who incredulously asked, “what have you done, you fool!”

The growing discomfort and spearmint scent jogged my memory of this gel.  We had purchased this gel more than a year ago when my wife was having back problems.  It was recommended to us as a treatment to help loosen up knotted back muscles.  It was horse-strength analgesic.  This gel relaxes tense muscle through the stimulant of … heat;  heat that I had now slathered generously ALL OVER a very sensitive region.  My only response to the gathering storm in my loins was “aaarghhh!”  I immediately grabbed a wash-towel, wetting it in the sink as beads of sweat began to form on my brow.  All I could think was “I don’t want to die this way.”  I scrubbed and scrubbed; wetted the towel and scrubbed some more.  As I scrubbed, I cursed the irony that I had applied this gel to avoid friction and now here I was directly applying more friction than running had ever caused.  I was just about to jump into the shower when the heat reached its zenith and began its descent.  I was relieved that I would not have to give any of the explanations that I had been rehearsing for a 911 operator as to the nature of my emergency.

This little incident reminded me of many solutions that we often resort to in an attempt to solve friction in our lives.  There have been many relationships that have been made much worse by the application of the wrong ointment; the ointment of sin.  That ointment can burn away years of good feelings in an instant.  An inappropriate response can often become more of a problem than the original source of friction.  That momentary decision to follow folly has been the source of much discomfort and the ill-will in relationships.

The natural response of our flesh is never an ointment that leads to anything other than folly.

The treatment that will always have the intended results is the Spirit.  Generous applications of the Spirit will inevitably soothe the most painful of friction induced afflictions.  The response of the one who is walking in the Spirit provides a wisdom that can restore the fragrance to that which has taken on the stench of decay.

Therefore, walking in the Spirit is not something that we can practice in an irregular manner.  We constantly need the wisdom of the Spirit.  We never know when folly will present itself to us.  We never know when we will be confronted by circumstances that demand a response.  We do know that a fleshly response can make a situation so much worse.

Therefore, we need to be diligent in the setting of our minds.  We need to be intentional in walking in the Spirit so that when we are confronted by the potential of folly we will naturally apply the ointment of the Spirit.

The wisdom that comes from abiding in the Spirit will soothe beyond anything from our own wisdom.  Therefore, let us not wander from Him who will make our paths straight.

PRAYER: Lord, you know that I have applied way too much of myself in past conflicts.  Father, help me to abide in You.  I want my natural response to be the soothing wisdom of your Spirit.  I want my response to make things better and not worse.  I want you to be glorified in the most frictional of situations.  Lord, I want to be a peacemaker.  Help me to walk in your Spirit at all times.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.


  1. Oh JD, you have my utmost sympathy!

  2. Amen!

  3. Reblogged this on One Starving Activist and commented:
    A truism that provides a good chuckle too 😉

    • Thanks for the reblogs. It is very much appreciated.
      God bless!

  4. […] “SOOTHING OINTMENT” – June 28. […]

  5. Oh my goodness. That did more than sting. JD, I am glad you didn’t die that way! I too now have a wonderful visual application when I am tempted to insert myself into conflicts. Sometimes we make the situation much worse. Listening helps. I have discovered that I have jumped into a conflict without understanding the full nature of it. Thanks for the blog. It is a gem!

  6. I have to say this was too funny: “I don’t want to die this way” . Love the visual I now have of applying too much of myself in conflicts.Thanks for this, it will stick with me for sure!

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