FENTON, MI – I have done some pretty lame things in my life that to this day still send a rush of blood-surging embarrassment through my being. Now these acts of misguided judgement were not really malicious or done with evil intent, but were just not real smart.
Like the time several of my high school freshmen friends and I decided to sneak into the county pool late one hot summer night for a cool respite from the oppressive heat of a West Texas night and to have a few laughs. Everything went well until the evening police patrol noticed the highly agitated water in a pool that should have been calm and proceeded to investigate. We saw the headlights from their cruiser turn toward the pool enclosure, which caused us to scramble like a covey of quail. When the officers entered the pool area, they simply followed the wet foot prints we left behind, to an equipment shack where they found us huddled together, wearing only smiles and our goose-pimpled birthday suits.
That was embarrassing enough, but the embarrassment intensified when they marched us down the sprawling boulevard of School Street, in nothing but our underwear. There, in all of our damp and almost nude bodies, a group of cheerleaders, who just happened to be out painting the street at 1:00am, gained new insight into what freshmen boys looked like without their clothes. It has always been my belief that some of those cheerleaders were never the same again, and required months of psychological counseling to help them cope with the horror they had witnessed. It was not a pretty sight.
I heard of another embarrassing situation that occurred in a large regional airport. It was the kind of thing that I probably would have done. It seems as though while waiting at the airport terminal for her plane to begin boarding, a woman sat reading a newspaper. Earlier, she had purchased a package of cookies in the airport snack shop to eat after she got on the plane. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed that the man sitting next to her was eating a cookie. She looked down and noticed that her package of cookies had been opened and the man was eating them. The woman couldn’t believe that the man would have such nerve as to eat her cookies. So that she wouldn’t lose all of her cookies to the man, she slowly reached over, took a cookie, and ate one herself.
To her amazement, the man continued to eat more cookies. Getting more and more irritated, the woman removed all but one cookie from the package and ate them. At that point, the man reached down and took the last cookie. Before eating it, though, he broke it in half and left half of the cookie for the woman. This made the woman so angry; she grabbed the empty package with the half cookie and crammed it in her purse. Then, to her shock, she noticed that there in her purse was her unopened package of cookies.
My mother always told me to “look before you leap.” I thought that only applied to my physical escapades as a child, but as I have grown in stature and maturity, I have come to understand that it has much more to do with life than leaping. In my estimation, we as a nation, have become a people who react to things instead of making thoughtful responses. Facts, circumstances and history have little to do with our reactions. We immediately assume the worst in a matter or of a person, and then let our emotions dictate our actions. This kind of reasoning or the lack of, will create an atmosphere that is ripe for embarrassment. I know. I excel at this! It has and will cause embarrassment not only for us but also for our Lord and His church.
If there is one thing that I have learned in life it is I don’t like to be embarrassed and to keep that from happening, I would do well to follow my dad’s advice. “Son, don’t never assume nothing and don’t mess with another man’s cookies.” Think about it. Proverbs 12:18
Book of the Month: Be sure to check out Tim’s recommendation for valuable resources you should have on your bookshelf.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board.