I’m borrowing some unsolicited material from my father-in-law for this blog (love you Papa S.!)
You know the whole, it’s better to ask forgiveness rather than permission – lets hope this works out for me. If not, prayers and condolences should be sent to joyceackermann.wordpress.com – please leave your words of sympathy in the comments section.
To really understand this story, you need to know a little bit about Papa S. . .
His day job is an engineer, which is pretty cool and he builds all sorts of really big machines that have letters and numbers for names. Why they can’t come up with cool wrestling names like “THE ROCK CRUSHER” or “THE BOULDER THROWER”, I’ll never know. . .
Engineers like their numbers and letters.
So my dad-in-law is an engineer by day, and that’s really cool. But he’s also a teacher – and besides being a son, that’s mostly how God sees him and how God talks to him.
And here is where I might get in a little trouble with Papa S.
Teachers see things in black and white.
Right and wrong.
Truth or lie.
Which is really good. . .except when you use truth armed with an agenda to change a person.
I promise, I’m not using this blog to teach Papa S. a lesson. (This was a lesson he taught me, but you know writers, we like to live on the edge and such. I’ve got to build up the hype before I deliver the punch-line. . .)
In a particularly frustrating moment for Papa S. when he was trying to drive a point home to someone, God showed him something.
Truth without love is like using the Bible to club people to death.
My mind gets really theatrical so when he was telling me the story, I was picturing someone holding a Bible and beating someone lying curled up in the fetal position on the floor and screaming, “WHY WON”T YOU JUST GET IT ALREADY?” Or something like that scene in Office Space when the guys take the printer out into a field and beat it with baseball bats.
Talk about driving a point home.
You should know, that I’m writing this today to myself, because of something someone said to me. And this is gonna sound like I’m five, but it hurt my feelings.
What I really want to do is give ’em a piece of my mind – you know speak the truth. . .
Problem is, it wouldn’t be in love.
It would be all about proving that I was right and getting to go a little Ben Stiller on the person by having a 15 minute monologue, Ha! I’m way more freaking spiritual than you are. Who’s crying now? Huh, baby? Nah-nah, nah-nah, boo boo – in your face! . . .
But at some point, I decided to put my inner child away and choose love.
Because under all of my inner Ben Stiller-ness, I really do care about this person.
Sigh, so I’m putting on my big girl undies (no, not the granny ones) and choosing:
To love instead of proving a point.
To choose the person over the offense.
No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.
Ephesians 4:14-16 (The Message)
So if you and I are really in a place of love, speaking the truth all of sudden takes on a different form. Because it’s not enough to just tell people how it is. . .
Love doesn’t correct someone with truth unless it is with the other persons best interest at heart.
and when love does speak the truth:
It’s patient when it seems like the other person will NEVER change.
It is kind even when the other person is throwing verbal barbs at you.
It doesn’t feel entitled to the good things in the other person’s life (even if you think they don’t deserve them).
It doesn’t say, I told you so – when someone falls on their face after not taking your good advice.
It doesn’t vent about how the other person’s problems would all go away if they would just change already.
It doesn’t whisper about the person behind their back (unless it’s making surprise birthday plans – then it’s only okay if you save me a piece of cake).
Love NEVER uses the other person.
Love believes that things can and will get better for the other person.
Love believes that people are capable of amazing greatness, even in the face of their hurts, flaws, and wrong mindsets. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Papa S. is a really good teacher. He shared that story with me 8 years ago and I’ve never forgotten it.
I mean, I still haven’t quite gotten it, but its stayed with me.
Plus, it’s a really good reminder to keep the Ben Stiller monologues locked up inside of this head of mine.