Friday, 31 December 2010

A PAINFUL, BUT NECESSARY, LESSON.

Have you ever had a friend tell you something that hurt yet was also meant for your own good? We all like to think of ourselves as being as good or somewhat better than others. To the same extent, we hate receiving a "talking to" from self-important busybodies. What we need in many cases is gentle-but-firm counsel from caring individuals when we go astray.

When I was on a short term missions trip in 1977, a church friend exposed one of my character flaws in a way that was gentle yet firm. It stung at the time but I recognize in hindsight how immature I had been when I desperately sought my group's approval. From my How I Was Razed memoir, here's how this Christian handled what could have been a nasty confrontation in a loving and Christ-like way.

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During my time in Mexico, I learned a painful, but necessary, lesson. Being an ardent Goon Show fan, I often tried to make my fellow missionary trainees laugh with absurd statements and word plays. When awkward silences inevitably followed my witticisms, I assumed they merely misunderstood.

"Let's go for a walk, Bruce," Jay invited after the Sunday Service and lunch. "We have some free time this afternoon and a walk would do the both of us good." Jay shepherded me through the bustling streets, telling me when it was safe to cross. After ten minutes, we arrived at a park next to a plaza. We sat on a polished wooden bench shaded by trees and chatted for a few minutes. Then he came to the point.

"I need to talk to you seriously about something. You've probably noticed that nobody laughs when you tell a joke. There's a good reason for that. I hope you won't be angry with us when I tell you this but you've been acting childish."

His accusation stung. I hung my head and said, "I was only trying to be funny."

"I know. Unfortunately, you've been trying so hard that it ends up annoying everybody."

I sat and pondered what he said. Though I hated to admit it, I desperately craved the acceptance of the group. If I had only acted naturally, it would have helped relations between those three and myself. From then on, I resisted the urge to impress people.

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How I Was Razed is the testimony of the way I was mislead by a cult church, how I turned my back on God after I felt he perennially failed to heal my eyes, and how he graciously brought me to my senses.

My previous books, When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies) and Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), are now available online by clicking here or by clicking here to e-mail me directly.