A Tale of Two Friends
I have two friends I’d like to tell you about this issue, in order to make a point. And, yes, these are two real, specific, walking, talking people who I consider to be friends.
The first friend approaches everyone as if he’s got it all together. If you asked this guy if he had his ducks in a row, he’d tell you they were not only in a row but also in lock-step. He’s a neat guy, but don’t let him fool you—he doesn’t have his ducks in step, and not even in a row. None of us do. He’s just as screwed up as the rest of us, but either doesn’t know it or won’t admit it. And he’s approaches the world from that point of view—like he has his life together and the rest of us are screwed up. Without going into too much detail, I’ll just say it this way—his “all together” attitude causes him to not approach the world with very much love and to be very quick to judge others.
Many people I know avoid this first friend because of how he approaches the world. Don’t read this wrong—I love this friend and write this with great sadness for him, and hope that he eventually realizes why he doesn’t have many friends. People don’t want to be around him, not because he’s a bad guy but because it’s no fun to constantly be corrected. This also seriously limits his ability to reach anyone for Jesus. He’s so busy fixing other people that he can’t be broken himself—broken is where we all need to be before Jesus. If we are not broken, we take away the power of the gospel in our own lives. You just can’t break he who is fixing.
The second friend approaches everyone as an equal and puts others before himself. He’s careful to say nice things, and when he has to say something not so nice, he does so in love, with NO pretense of his own “better-than-you” righteousness. He’s quick to help if he knows anything about the subject, and quick to say “I don’t know” and listen and learn if he doesn’t know anything about it.
Everyone knows him in his town. Bunches of people love him. He has many opportunities to reach people from all sorts of different backgrounds. He’s got many friends that he can “love toward Jesus.” Oh…I almost forgot to mention—he doesn’t pretend to have his ducks in a row.
Never mind which friend is happier….which do you think has a better chance to impact his world?