Sunday, 10 March 2019 21:20

Criticize or Laugh

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A recent husband/wife confrontation left me torn between two extremes, laugh or criticize. This episode went something like this. I came home at the end of the day and had to pick up our garbage can at the end of the driveway. After unloading the garbage can by our garage, I parked my truck in the garage. I mistakenly left the tailgate on my truck down. Leaving a tailgate down is not conducive to lowering a garage door. See where I am going? LOL!

Initially, leaving the tailgate down was not a problem. However, when it is time to lower the garage door for the night, a tailgate is a problem. This is what caused a communication issue. As I was entering our house, for the evening, I pressed the button to lower the door. The door started down as I went inside. The problem is the garage door has a laser trigger that stops it when something (such as a tailgate) gets in the way. I went inside assuming the door had closed.

Later, Judy asked why I hadn’t closed the garage door. Her question sparked a little resentment and upset me. How could she doubt my actions? I assured her that I had closed the door. She assured me that I had not. Judy followed up on my failure by attempting to lower the garage door.

Guess what? The scenario repeated itself, in reverse. I accused Judy of failing to lower the door. Finally, I went outside and discovered the reason for our failures, the open tailgate. This episode reminded me of the importance of learning to laugh at ourselves. I am not very good, at laughing at myself.

As I pondered this event, I studied for life lessons. Several came to mind.

First, “pride goes before a fall and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16:18) “A man’s pride shall bring him low.” (Prov. 29:23) Pride causes marital problems, church problems, and relational problems. Pride causes us to point fingers instead of affirming the other person.

Second, if we can’t laugh at ourselves then we are way too serious. It is important that I laugh at myself in order to keep from crying. When I consider my human stupidity, I am sometimes appalled at myself. And to think, I will throw stones at another person, when I make the same mistakes, for which I accuse them. How funny is that?

Finally, human relationships can quickly deteriorate when we do not have the humility to laugh at ourselves and see our own failures. This is why marriages fail! This is why church relationships turn sour.

Pastors, do you take yourself too seriously? Ministry is difficult, without us putting on solemn faces that miss the humor in daily experiences. I think laughter is one of the unique qualities of churches that enjoy being together.

May we have the grace to confess our failures, laugh at ourselves, and learn from life’s quibbles. There are plenty of quibbles to choose from!

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