Schmucks and Menschs of the Bible

The more you love God, the more struggles you’re likely to have. Think about the hard times Paul, Timothy, Joseph, and, the best example, Jesus went through. But full commitment also brings the most joy. I love the analogy of walking along a railroad track: our entire life, we will have a suffering track on one side and a joy track on the other.

As we walk through our life, sex can be one of our great joys. It can also cause unrivaled suffering. We’ve spent most of this book trying to find the joy in sex. Let’s end by thinking about how to morph that great sex life into a life fully committed to Christ.

The Bible is God’s love story to us. Look at all the ways God shows his love to the various characters in the biblical story and tells us to love each other. Getting this love stuff right is one of the main purposes of life. How do we learn to love from the Bible?

Let’s start with “good guys” and “bad guys” in the biblical stories. We’ll call the good guys Menschs (a person of integrity and honor), and the bad guys are Schmucks (a foolish or contemptible person). Who are some of Schmucks of the Bible? Jesus spent much of his time telling the religious leaders and Pharisees they were schmucks. Here are some others:

1.     The other guy on the cross that didn’t end up in heaven that day.

2.     The two busy guys in the Good Samaritan story

3.     Solomon’s son Rehoboam

4.     Saul, the first king of Israel

5.     Ahab and all the evil kings of Israel

What do all these schmucks have in common? They are arrogant and entitled (i.e., anything but humble). They act as if they have all the answers. They are self-important, valuing themselves way above others. They are not kind.

I’d call them blowhard know-it-alls. I hate spending time with folks like that. I have to be careful not to become one.

Now let’s look at the Menschs: Jesus, Paul, Timothy, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Jonathan, Ruth, Esther, Job, and many more. What differentiates them? They all have humility. They take life as it comes and try to follow God’s direction. A thread of kindness runs through all of them, though many showed incredible strength with that kindness. These Menschs were courageous. They handled their struggles with integrity and honor.

When I contemplate how I want to behave or what I want to believe, this clear choice between Schmuck and Mensch behavior helps me decide what to do in any given situation. It is like the “What Would Jesus Do?” concept, but it can be spread over to a few more folks who weren’t the Son of God.

I like starting with the basic question, “Is this Jerk behavior?” Unfortunately, it’s a question too many Christians never ask. Consider behaviors such as leaving a lousy tip at a restaurant (something Christians are known for), acting judgmental and self-righteous (another popular perception of Christians), or not being kind when it would be easy to do so.

Simply not being a jerk should be the starting point for Christians or for anyone striving to live a meaningful life, but effective Christian living needs to go much further than that.