I tend to become flustered when I have company. We had an older couple over for Sunday dinner once, sweet, kind people whom I should never have been nervous about at all. Everything was going well as I slid my homemade crescent rolls into the oven. Twelve minutes later I peeked in to see how they were doing and was horrified. I had covered them with a linen kitchen towel during their last rise and had forgotten to take it off.
I pulled them out, managed to remove the towel without mutilating my rolls, and slid them back in, but the damage was already done. They never did fully rise, instead becoming heavy and doughy and tasting faintly of freshly ironed cotton. “I thought maybe it was a new-fangled method I hadn’t heard about before,” said my sweet friend. Indeed—a new-fangled method that did not work very well at all.
Then there was the time I put a ten pound ham in the oven and very carefully set the oven timer backwards. Instead of starting at 10:00 and cooking till 12:30, it was rigged to come on at 12:30 and cook till 10:00. My twelve guests and I walked in at 12:15 to a stone cold ham. Aren’t microwaves wonderful? I sliced off enough to go around once, zapped them, and called everyone to the table while the rest finished nuking. At least I had managed to get everything else done on time.
And who could forget the first meal I cooked for Keith after our honeymoon? I pulled the meat loaf out of the oven, holding that brand new Pyrex loaf pan between those slick new oven mitts. I turned around a bit too quickly and, as I did, that pan slid out of my grasp and sailed across the room landing upside down in the floor behind the table. Keith managed to duck, but it was a portentous way to begin married life.
Yet all those embarrassing moments, and many, many others, are stories we laugh about now. In fact, most of them we were laughing about the same day, often within minutes of their occurrence. Look how well-balanced we are. No arrogance here, no stubborn pride. We can learn from our mistakes, even laugh at ourselves.
But let one person dare to disagree with us about a spiritual matter and that’s a completely different story. Our minds are made up; we won’t listen; we instantly dismiss any scriptural evidence we cannot otherwise explain away with, “That’s different.”
Let anyone dare to tell us we might have erred in our actions and things are even worse. Instantly we counterattack; instantly we rationalize; instantly we blame that person for our failure to behave as a Christian. If he had told us differently, we would have listened. Really now?
I can hear you and yes, you are right—these are NOT laughing matters, but that makes it even more important that we NOT get too angry to listen, or too ”hurt” to examine ourselves objectively. I can tell tales about my mistakes in the kitchen over and over, but heaven forbid (or is it some other place?) I actually consider another side to a disagreement or scrutinize my own actions and their motives.
Why can’t we share stories of change and enlightenment in spiritual matters? Why can’t we thank the ones who told us we were wrong instead of telling everyone else how horrible they are? Why is it that the very thing we say all the time, “I know I’m not perfect,” is the last thing we will ever admit?
Perhaps it’s because we don’t really believe it.
He is in the way of life who heeds correction; but he who forsakes reproof errs. He who hearkens to the reproof of life shall abide among the wise. He who refuses correction despises his own soul; but he who hearkens to reproof gets understanding, Prov 10:17; 15:31,32.