01 January 2009

From the Evangelist’s Desk

Hello again,

I trust that I find you all well and I hope that you enjoyed your Christmas and New Year festivities.

I am now going to try your memory, and ask that you cast it back to a previous article I wrote concerning ?It?s what comes out of the mouth?.

I wish to build on this theme, if that is okay with you, if not turn your pages quickly to the next section of the magazine.

Proverbs 11:17 Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel.

So are you kind or cruel? The kindness can be a kindness of words as well as deeds and cruelty can be likewise. How would you like to be remembered by others when you pass to life Eternal?  I for one hope that they will remember me with kind thoughts and memories, the memories of someone always willing to help, someone always willing to listen and most of all, someone who was always smiling and happy, full of the joys of Christ.

How is Rick going to build on that previous article he mentioned I hear you say? Well I am thinking about words again, words to build and words to break down.

Where I work there is a great deal of teasing going on during work and sometimes one has to develop broad shoulders not to take offence and show hurt. I must stress however, that most of the time the teasing is undertaken in good taste. But isn?t that a part of life? 

People often think that I ?Don?t bite?, what they don?t know is what is going through my mind sometimes when they are teasing, poking fun and that sort of thing, when it is ?cutting near to the bone.?

As a Christian, some feel that we shouldn?t tease people, or play jokes on them, because it is not a Christian thing to do. Not true, we can poke fun and tease just as much as then next person. What we shouldn?t do is do this at the expense of the other person?s weakness, exploiting them to gain a quick laugh.

One thing we must always remember when we joke at another?s expense is not to act like a vulture, praying on the weak and injured. (No disrespect to vultures, I think that all of God?s creatures have a place within the world). But a vulture will not usually attack a healthy animal, or one that is able to defend itself; it will aim at the easy pray.

We can be critical of others, which in turn can make us blind to their strengths-and also to our own faults.  Remember, ?Evil words destroy one?s friends; wise discernment rescues the godly?. Proverbs 11:9.  What is spoken in jest can injure and hurt, even though it is not meant to. My parents always told me to, ?Engage the brain before working the mouth.? Something that I have hopefully taken onboard, as I have matured in age.

I think that it is fine to tease others, as long as it is done in the right spirit and their feelings are not being hurt.  If I have any doubt I will not crack a joke or tease at another?s expense. Which is unlike some of the comedians that you see on TV, or listen to on the radio. When I see a comedian on the TV who is poking fun at a person seated in the front row, I look at that persons expression, which is quite often a forced smile and an exaggerated chuckle. The rest of the audience of course finds it extremely funny and are nearly rolling off their seats.  The comedian then turns their attention to someone else, move away and strike another. The original person then joins the rest and laughs at the expense of the new joke butt. And so it can go on, until the comedians stage time is up. Quite a few have been offended, but by the same token they are quick to join in the enjoyment when it is someone else?s turn as the joke butt.

So how about you? Do you enjoy teasing others? Make sure that you?re not hurting someone?s feelings by pointing out weakness. Remember weaknesses come in all shapes and sizes, physical as well as mental. It?s okay to tease and poke fun, but do it in a loving and caring way, as it?s better to have ?Your own soul nourished when you are kind.?

May God Bless you all and keep you well.

© Rick Hayes