Not long ago Alan and I were hiking along the back shore of Bay Lake in Florida just as the sun was coming up, and I was struck by the unusual colors and patterns reflecting off the surface of the water. It was so beautiful that I stood in awe that anything so mucky could look so mesmerizingly attractive. I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to go wading through the muck to take a morning dip in Bay Lake (there are warning signs against anyone attempting to swim because of the pollution), but it looked almost enchanting, like something out of a fairy tale, and I could almost envision a magical frog popping up to chat. What a contrast to Stirrup Cay, where I’d been snorkeling just a few weeks prior! There I could see through the depths to the bottom of the glistening pool, and it was exciting to plunge into the cool, crystal-clear water. No muck, no yuck, no unexpected monsters or poisonous snakes lurking beneath the water. I could see exactly what was there & where I was going, and the swim was sheer delight! Are there any people in your life who are mesmerizingly attractive to you but completely opaque? I learned the hard way that if someone seems to be a black box, they usually are. If you can’t see into them, it’s doubtless because they are troubled souls who need your concern, but not your devotion. America’s first president, George Washington, warned: “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.” May we recognize muddied waters and reach out to help, but not to enter into an intimate relationship, lest instead of meeting an enchanted frog we’re suddenly confronted by a monster, bitten by a poisonous snake, or dragged under the muddy waters.
“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
(2 Timothy 2:22)