Bad News –
A new pastor, on his first Sunday, preached the sermon and following the dismissal prayer, greeted people at the door as they were leaving. A man in a bright red sports jacket was next in line and before the preacher could say anything he blurted out; “That was a terrible sermon!” Taken aback the pastor tried to figure out his next words but the man left before he could reply. After a while, he noticed the man in the bright red sports jacket in line again. This time he said; “You could not have possibly studied for that message. It was a mess!” Again the pastor was at a loss for words and the man was gone. As the line to meet the new pastor was ending he couldn’t believe the last person in line was the guy in the red sports jacket! “I don’t know if I’ll come back if that’s the best you can do!” Abruptly he walked out the door and this time the pastor watched him get into his car and drive away. The new reverend, obviously shaken by this man’s constant critique saw a group of folks in the foyer, wandered over, and asked’ “What is the deal with the man in the red sports jacket?” “Oh, don’t worry about him replied a parishioner. He only repeats what he hears other people saying.”
Bad news. Sometimes we expect it other times it takes us by surprise. No matter who we are, what we do, sooner or later we get bad news. It may be from our spouse, boss, doctor, friend, co-worker, or stranger. The challenge isn’t what to do if bad news comes but when it shows up. Our choices following an announcement of bad tidings are often more important, and have a greater impact, than the news itself. The space in between the news and the choices we make are critical. This is why wisdom, knowledge, peace, acceptance, clarity should be discovered now. When bad news comes chances are you will do what you know and many times the battle is won before the soldier takes the field.
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One of the advantages of insomnia is getting chores done while others are asleep. For the last five weeks, as I’ve battled sleeplessness, I’ve also been cleaning. One of the rooms I do most mornings is the kitchen. Today I noticed the filter in the sink was really dirty which means it’s doing its job. The purpose of a kitchen sink filter is to catch all the food and other junk before it slides down the drain and causes backups and other expensive troubles.
I spoke to a group of guys this week and we talked about the; “space in between” our thoughts, feelings and our actions, response. I told them; “the more space you have between your thoughts and your words, your feelings and your actions, the less regret and shame in your life.”
It’s a lesson we all must learn. A filter over our mouths, a pause before our reactions, a moment of stillness and reflection before words we can never get back, actions we can’t rescind slide out and cause unnecessary and costly trouble.