Tag Archive: honest


Americans like to fix things.  We struggle with the idea that something can’t be fixed.  When something reaches that state, if not before, we throw it away and go looking for a replacement.   

If we deem an item unfixable or, better yet, too expensive to fix, we throw it away.  I was told by a car sales manager that they design most sales campaigns for the desire to own the next model, not obsoleteness.  Few wait till their car is on it’s last legs to purchase their next car.  Not only are we bent on fixing things we can be quick to throw them away as well.

We like to think we don’t don’t function that way with people. When it’s people, there are issues that cannot be fixed. There is this group of men I meet with on Tuesday nights.  It’s called Pirate Monks.  Pirate Monks is for men who are struggling in life with anything at all to come and participate with our #1 goal in mind.  That goal is to speak honestly from the 1st person perspective.   

Every meeting we remind the participants to allow someone to get their words out, and we are not there to fix them.  We remind each other to only ask questions after someone speaks.  It doesn’t take long for the men to go down a rabbit hole.  The questions turn into statements.  The statements are directed to the “honest” participant in order to fix them.  We will deny it, but we really do value our own opinion.  

This past week I had to turn to one of the guys and state, “Ask a question!”  Eventually it all kicked in, and we began to ask good questions.  A good question is not for the speaker to gain information.  A really good question makes the responder think.  A great question will stick with someone a long time.  

Jesus asked great questions.     From time to time, those he asked questions to could not respond.  It wasn’t that they couldn’t.  The answer penetrated the heart.  In the old days we used to call it “meddlin.”  However, a good question from someone that loves us isn’t meddling but rather great love.  

Some of the hundreds of questions Jesus asked stick out.  He didn’t need the answer.  He needed others to see the answer.  Some that stand out to me include:

“Why do you doubt?”

“Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

“Where is your faith?”

“What are you looking for?”

“If I am telling  the truth, why do you not believe me?”

These are just a sampling of what I call “questions of the heart.”  My favorite is, “Who are you looking for?”  While this piercing question was directed at the soldiers who came to arrest him, it is a question we can ask every day.  We all seem to be looking for someone, not so much something.  We are looking for someone to love us, care for us, encourage us, validate us, and stay with us no matter what.  Oh, there are plenty of people that speak enticing words to us.  We get so easily seduced with words. When we get tired of empty words, we tend to resort to things to fill our yearnings.  The sense of peace doesn’t last long.   

I was reading a book the other day that revealed the first recorded words between God and man.  It was something I didn’t think about.  The question can be found in Genesis 3.  God asked, “Where are you?”  I have not been able to get that one out of my brain since.

God knew the answer.  Man was hiding from him.  God wasn’t waiting to hear the answer.  His question was for Adam and Eve to hear their own words.  From the beginning we see the amazing art of a good question.

As Christians we live in a world that is sick and tired of us telling them what they have to believe and what they have to do.  I can’t say I blame them at all.  We often expect others to live like Jesus, and, when they don’t, we act surprised.  Once, someone else reveals his or her issues, we think have to fix em.  Do this.  Do that.  All you need is my formula.  The list of fix-its go on forever, and we become god.

God didn’t show up in the garden and say, “I know where you are Adam.  Come on out and get what’s coming to you.”  Not at all.  He needed Adam to grasp the situation.  He wanted Adam to hear his own words.  It was Adam who needed to figure out where he was.  It was Adam in his relationship with God that had to say, “I’m afraid.  I’m naked.  I’m hiding.”  Ahh, the right question reveals the heart.  It’s the heart that needs change, not the behavior.

Next time your spouse is in a bad place, try a good question and don’t expect an answer.  Next time your kids got your blood boiling, ask a really good question and look out for the answer.  Next time a friend is running crazy, ask a great question and be prepared to walk that extra mile.  Till we learn to ask a good question, let’s try shutting up so we can hear their heart.  A little prayer seeking the right question goes a long way as well.

So, where are you?  What are you looking for?  Who are you looking for? 

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We walked though the exhibit looking to land the next deal in our quest to obtain the next piece of memorabilia linking our dreams to reality. Maybe an autograph was in store. It might have been a rookie card. We took our time looking over the vast amount of items with eager anticipation. We didn’t have unlimited resources.
I’ve had the pleasure to attend many autograph sessions and memorabilia shows over the years. Shaking the hand of Mickey Mantle, Johnny Bench, Brooks Robinson was always a moment to remember. We didn’t have cell phones in those days. The autograph and the memory stand the test of time.
Over time, we either hand the items down to our children, or, when tough times hit, we sell them. A few years back, I needed to sell just about everything…even the Ted Williams autographed baseball. Off to the auction house it went, one box at a time. The last thing to go was the Mickey Mantle/Ken Griffey Jr autographed Upper Deck card. All that is left is the memory.
Before the items went to auction, they had to be certified as authentic since baseball autographs can be easily forged. I paid for each piece to be certified if I did not have a certificate of authenticity. Experts would compare the signatures to the real deal. They had to pass the test. If any item was deemed a forgery it instantly became valueless.
Last week in this column I spoke of the millennial generations who are hard to reach. All of us struggle in our world today as we search for authentic anything. Christianity is no different. I have found that we tend to build up walls to people we don’t understand. The younger generation has lived in an era of fakers. Fake news. Fake love. Fake everything. Their walls are up, and I don’t blame them.
They will listen to someone talk about Jesus. In fact many are hungry for an anchor in an anchorless world. What do you have faith in these days? Politicians? Government? Church? The last election I heard a candidate say, “Let’s make America great again.” We have a generation that does not even know what that means. Their America has lied to them. Their America has conned it’s way into every aspect of their life. You name it, it has failed them. The church is on the list as well.
But they will listen and have a relationship with a Christian who they deem authentic. I have asked a few of my friends to give me a definition of an authentic Christian. The answers have been across the board.
There are those that see authentic to be those who take their faith seriously. They go to church. They study the Word of God. They have something they struggle to define, a walk with Jesus.
Most of the responses focused on the moral behavior of a Christian. That strikes me as funny. Christian theology has this thing called total depravity. It still exists even after we “know” Jesus. Total depravity says we are all still very capable of sin, sometimes horrendous sin. Somehow authentic Christians are supposed to be in control of their sin nature. I so much wish I were writing a book right now. I would need a lot of pages to talk about that one.
I decided to ask the generation that is looking for authentic Christians for a definition. I got one totally different than the one I got from my generation. I’m 59 years old; you can figure that one out. They basically defined the real deal in two words.
The first word they used was “honest.” An authentic Christian does not paint a picture of moral and spiritual authority. Quite the opposite. The real deal is honest with their own sin and failure. They don’t act like they are on a spiritual mountain dragging the sinners along. Their only hope is clear. Their only hope is Jesus Christ. They are full of grace and understanding. They understand depravity. They understand “sola Christos.”
The second part of the definition is very telling. They say a real Christian is one who “cares.” They are going to be there on a good day, a bad day, and the horrible days. They are going to care when they are not there and when they are there. They aren’t going to “fix-em” and present Jesus as a pill that makes all things well. They understand life is a journey and that journey has different times and dates.
There it is! One is to be honest and caring. I think that is what we call “grace.”