Dirt road fits less likely when you value others

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, June 28, 2023

By Les Ferguson Jr.

My mother-in-law lives in Warren County outside of Vicksburg. You must travel off the blacktop onto about 3.5 miles of gravel/ dirt road to get to her house. I’ve known her since the early 1980s — my entire history with her involves that long dusty gravel road. 

She has lived an eclectic life with many varied interests. I‘ve known her as a goat farmer who made her own goat cheese. I’ve known her as a basket weaver whose baskets are considered works of art. To this day I know her as an intrepid fiddle player in the Old Time Mississippi Music scene.

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And of course, I know her best as the mother of my wife and the grandmother to our children.

Hang around her for just a bit and you might learn some things about people and the state of our world in general—all populated with colorful, evocative phrases.

My favorite: he or she is “throwing a dirt road fit.” You might have a conniption. You might have a cow. You might have a hissy. But the worst fit to be thrown is “a dirt road fit.”

Imagine a dirt, gravel road in Mississippi — way out in the middle of nowhere. Now imagine it is a day like today — with an outside temperature of 93 with a “feels like” of 108 degrees.  

You are so irritated, mad, exasperated, frustrated, and angry that you are stomping around stirring up dust all the while looking like the world’s biggest idiot pitching the biggest fit of your life. That’s a dirt road fit.

When I read the New Testament, Jesus’s ideas about people and their inherent value were so radical that he often had the Pharisees of His day in a fit-throwing mood. 

Case in point: In Luke 15:2, we find the Pharisees and scribes complaining that Jesus “welcomed sinners and eats with them.”

If you can imagine a dirt road fit, you can probably also imagine that those Pharisees were furious with this example of Jesus. He was not only rocking the boat but tipping it over as well. 

In my admittedly vivid imagination, when they accused Jesus of welcoming and eating with sinners, they were spitting, sputtering, and stomping out a full-on dirt road fit!

This was all because Jesus had the ability and willingness to look beyond the sins, flaws, and failures to the beauty and essence these “sinners” were created with.

Personally, I’m glad Jesus can see past the ugly in my life. Better yet, I’m so very glad that He has chosen to not only be in fellowship with me but to also help me be spiritually healthier than I ever thought I could.

Truth be known, I’m not any better or worse than the Pharisees of old, but instead of throwing fits because Jesus doesn’t do what I expect, I’d rather learn to see the value in others just like He did and still does.

 May God bless us with the wisdom and ability to see, do, and be just like Jesus.

Les Ferguson Jr., is minister at Oxford Church of Christ. Write to him at lfergusonjr@gmail.com.