by Scott Paige
As the sun slowly rises over the tops of the trees and illumines a crystal clear lake void of any movement, silent as a reflection from a mirror, its light falls upon a small fishing boat in the middle of the lake. Two brothers gently finger their way through an assortment of fishing lures, looking for just the right one. Patiently they search for the most attractive lure, one that a fish could not refuse. One brother casts out his line, a slight ripple is made on the top of the water, and then almost instantly it vanishes. He sits with his rod in his lap slowly tightening the line, positioning his hand on the pole to enable him to feel the slightest nibble. He feels his pole twitch ever so softly, again and again. His heart beats quicker as anticipation and excitement rush through his body. His eyes narrow in on where the string meets the water, then a loud sharp slapping sound echoes across the lake followed by roaring laughter. The man looks up startled and bewildered only to see his brother raise the paddle from their boat into the air and again, with great force, slam it down onto the surface of the lake. As the paddle impacts the water, a ring of giant ripples form turning a perfect fishing spot into a torrent of waves. The man’s hopes of catching a fish were lost along with the peacefulness of the early morning.
Why did the brother destroy the environment that was ripe for fishing? Only he knows. But we in the grace movement should be concerned lest somehow we unintentionally create ripples that have a negative effect on those who may be ready to hear the message of saving grace. We cause ripples when we laugh at, belittle, or mock others who may not agree with our view of the gospel. Even when we do it amongst ourselves, it can have a ripple effect.
I agree that the truth of the gospel must be clarified, and we need to be quick to defend God’s Word when others distort it. But as fishers of men we should be positive, rather than negative, in our basic approach. After all, what we have is good news.
We have the perfect fishing lure—the gospel of grace. Let us present it with sensitivity, compassion, and love. And let’s allow our lakes to stay crystal clear and silent, ripe for fishing, without any ripple effect, for the gospel’s sake, and for the glory of our Lord.