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  • Writer's picturesonnyholmes

Bah humbug isn't ancient Hebrew.

Several years ago I passed a church member in the classroom hallway. I said my usual "good morning" and he replied "BAH HUMBUG", spoken in all caps, bold print. "Well, somebody's in a bad mood...", I replied. That's when he said, "Preacher...(which is a title everyone knows I detest)'s an ancient Old Testament word you should know. It means to be in a bad mood. Or worse". So, OK, I get it. If we can find a biblical backdrop for our human follies they seem to be a little more acceptable. Still, "BAH HUMBUG" isn't in either Testament of the Bible. But, there are many curses, imprecations, words of criticism, and other spiritual condition qualifiers that remind us of the consistency of human nature since creation. Call it what you will. We humans know how to out of sorts.

The wording is often polished and given more respectable veneers. But, irritable, cynical, discouraged, sad, angry, puzzled, tired, worn, confused, anxious, in turmoil, depressed, and a catalog of physical ailments introduce us to the dark world of moodiness. It's the stuff of interpersonal stress, colliding values, who's on first interplay, me-myself-and I metrics, word games, and nastier collisions like criticism, name calling, racial injustice, every manner of discrimination, and even horrors like road rage. Our moods can ignite every conceivable human reaction in us. The moody blues!

Of course, Scripture gives us spiritual guidance in mastering our moods. A couple of verses have been instructive as I've experienced the mood swings of pressurized living, the demands of leadership, diabetes, a wait problem, and a weight problem.

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God;

for I shall again praise him, my salvation 6 and my God. My soul is cast down within

me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount


Psalm 42, 5-6, ESV

My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me 21 But this I call to

mind, and therefore I have hope: 22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his

mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your

faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

Lamentations 3: 20-24, ESV

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.

John 14: 1, ESV

Moodiness getting in the way of more noble pursuits? There it is. Hope in God. His mercies are new every morning. Believe in God and Jesus. They're God's solution to the dangers of human moodiness.

Oh, yeah! Bah humbug isn't ancient Hebrew.

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