Gens du monde is French and it literally translates to “men of the world”. It means, however, simply those who are at the apex of society. The movers and shakers and doers. Those who stand out in their field and call the shots.
“From men which are Thy hand, O Lord, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly Thou fillest with Thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes. As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.” (Psalm 17:14-15)
Surely you’ve heard of the Loch Ness monster? You’ve met him? Amazing. But we’re talking about the likeness monster. Actually, that’s just a really bad pun. I suppose I should start at the beginning. David prays to God in the first verse: “Hear the right, O Lord, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.” In other words, his heart is resonant with the words he speaks. I find it takes time to reach that state. To where he can pray in verse two: “Let my sentence come forth from Thy presence; let thine eyes behold the things that are equal.” He goes on to outline the ways God had tested Him (“Thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing…”) Skip ahead a few verse to number seven and this is the point. David is talking about those who, while well-meaning (?), did not have his best interests at heart–to put it politely:
“Shew Thy marvellous lovingkindness, O Thou that savest by Thy right hand them which put their trust in Thee from those that rise up against them.” (17:7)
Those that rise up against them…
And yet, now that Jesus has come and instated this paradigm of forgiveness and of “turning the other cheek”, how do we deal with those who “rise up against us”? Because while it may not happen in the life-threatening, physically violent ways David dealt with, there are those who are opposed, however subtly, to our peace of mind and well being and joy in the Lord. Really, the only way God would have you “deal” with them is by forgiveness. There is nothing to be gained in vengeful retaliation. I have learned that Jesus loves everyone and even though you may view them as detrimental to your emotional and mental state, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t some part of them that can rub off on you, a beneficial quality from which you can learn. Even as you bless them with whatever it is God intimates to your heart. This is one of the ways to make friends in this world. I admit that I may be playing fast and loose with the King James Translation here. It’s the version I use primarily and while it may be antiquated by today’s standards, I feel it holds a deeper current of understanding for those who would be inclined (or led) to stick with it and align their thinking with its cadence and flow and meaning. Then again, I could be wrong. But I know God uses everyone at some time or another. Do they know it while it’s happening? Do I? God knows. As He is the Creator, He has that prerogative. To use people.
“And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.” (1 Corinthians 7:31)
And yet what do we make of this? Where does it stop? If we are “in this world, but not of it”, what does it look like when once we’ve crossed over the dividing line of the first part of the above verse? “Us[ing]” this world and “not abusing” it? God knows.