There is a very important word in the English language called “Insight.” It means, “Perception into the inner nature or real character of a thing.” For example, it is necessary to have insight into sayings such as, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”

While I am confident that you have heard this saying before, do you truly know what it means? My readers are highly intelligent and you probably do know, but just in case there may be a few around who don’t, here is what it means. In this case, a “silk purse” refers to a person who is refined, educated, has good manners, good hygiene, high morals and character values and has all the social graces. The “silk purses” of this world are usually people we love to be around.

On the other hand, the term “sow’s ear” refers to a person who is crude, has no manners or social graces, very poor hygiene, unkempt, very little education, low morals and character values and they are often addicted to alcohol or drugs. Obviously this is the kind of person most of us do not like to be around, at least for very long. And this person usually suffers in another way, because most employers do not want to hire them.

At this point you may wonder why I am taking this road. It is simply because we have seen a steady decline in the Godly, wholesome values that have been the bedrock of our society for the past 200-plus years. Most observers will agree with that statement. In other words, today we see more “sow’s ears” than we do “silk purses”. If you doubt what I am saying, just get on Facebook for a while. I can’t even repeat a lot of what I read there. Of course I can’t see these people in person, but if what comes out of their mind and mouth is reflective of the others, I will rest my case. Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not putting other people down, because I love people. I am just tired of seeing people who are low class when they don’t have to be.

Now, to be sure, I can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, but I know someone who can: His name is Jesus. I am excited to tell you that a lot of people are finding this out, and it is making a tremendous difference in their lives. There is good evidence to back up my claim. The one thing that happens when Jesus truly comes to live in our heart is that we change drastically for the better. Here is what it says in II Corinthians 5:17 -- “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things have passed away; behold all things are become new.”

While it is sad for a person -- man or woman -- to become addicted to alcohol or drugs, we have seen some amazing things happen over the past several years because of an addiction recovery program here in our area called Renewal Ranch. A residential treatment center for men in Perry County, Arkansas, Renewal Ranch has a two-step program that teaches about Jesus and having a new life because of a personal relationship with him. Renewal Ranch has a 70 percent success rate and is operated without any government funds, as it is faith based and most support comes from area churches.

Quite often the men in the program come to our church, and I can tell you it’s a very moving thing to see about 30 of them lined up across the stage holding large signs that have a message on both side of the sign. As they come across in single file, they hold up a sign that says such things as “addicted, lost, broken, separated from family.” Then they turn around the sign to where it says something like “found, restored, sober, back with wife and children.” Jesus can change us to also make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.