Jamaica Patois Wisdom – Examine

by Jefferson David Tant

The Jamaican Patois dialect is colorful, unique, and humorous. It is my desire to share some of the philosophy shown in this mix of colorful phrases that are witty as well as thought-provoking. I hope the readers both profit and enjoy. In my quarter-century plus of teaching there, I have come to appreciate some things about their culture.

Patois: Nuh buy puss inna bag
English: Never buy a cat in a bag
Meaning: Examine carefully whatever you accept from others

We certainly understand the wisdom of examining things we buy from others. If we buy a house, we want a home inspection. Sometimes a con man will sell a house with a fake deed. If we buy a car, we want a maintenance report, etc. We don't want a warranty that guarantees "30 miles or 30 minutes." But why is it that in the most important aspect of life, the spiritual realm, that so many accept what sounds good, pleasing to the ear, without examining whether the teaching is true?

This is not a new problem, for the prophets of old dealt with it. "For this is a rebellious people, false sons, Sons who refuse to listen to the instruction of the LORD; Who say to the seers, 'You must not see visions'; And to the prophets, 'You must not prophesy to us what is right, Speak to us pleasant words, Prophesy illusions. Get out of the way, turn aside from the path, Let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel'" (Isaiah 30:9-11). That's pretty bold.

Of course, not all are so obstinate and direct in their attitudes. With many, it is simply a disposition of the heart and mind that they want to hear nice things. They don't want to be challenged. The apostle Paul warned Timothy of future attitudes: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths" (II Timothy 4:3-4)

Many preachers today preach what is called "the health and wealth gospel." One famous preacher stated in an interview:  "I don't preach on sin. God hasn't called me to do that. I want my people to feel good." No wonder he has a church with 40,000 members. (But his building will only seat 17,000.)
The soul is not fed by "pleasant words and illusions," as Isaiah reported.  The truth is, there are many false prophets who claim to be prophets of God. "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (I John 4:1). My eternal soul is a valuable possession, and I cannot afford to just take some preacher's word for what truth is. John says I need to examine for myself.

Even in Christ's day, there were religious leaders who worshipped God, who wore nice clothing, who said nice things but added their own ideas to God's Word. Christ said of them, "But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines as the precepts of men" (Matthew 15:9).

Paul further warns about false teachers: "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness" (II Corinthians 11:13-15).  Satan's ministers don't stand in pulpits wearing a red suit, sporting horns,  a tail, and a pitchfork! And many of his ministers are themselves deceived.

The moral of the story is, don't let a preacher in a nice suit con you. Check out the teachings for yourself in the Owner's Manual — the Bible. Eternity in hell is too big a price to pay for not being diligent. Check them out! Nuh buy puss inna bag!

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