'Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.............'
I didn't answer right away, because I love listening to the good ole' Statler Brothers sing that song, but I noticed that the name 'Jeremiah B.' showed up on my caller ID, so I figured I'd better answer sooner, rather than later. As I flipped my phone open; I said 'Hey, Jer; what's up?' Boy, was I in for it this morning! 'Somebody' must have had quite a day yesterday ( Thanksgiving Day )! First, it was 'What took you so long to answer?', so I had to remind him of my enjoyment of Newton's hymn, as sung by the 'Brothers', after which he began his tirade........................'You know what my favorite thing about the holidays is?', he asked. 'I used to think it was family and friends, but now I really think it's the food!' ( I love food too, and Thanksgiving really brings out the best in most cooks! ) I had to ask my friend, at this juncture, what had happened yesterday that had so soured him on the family aspect of the holidays He replied, 'ya know, Chuck; it's not just yesterday that I'm talking about, it's the holidays in general......................why do we wait till certain days to get in touch with each other............wait a minute; I think I just answered my own question ( having family of my own; I kinda understood where he was coming from )..........I almost interrupted at this point, but I decided to let him continue his 'rant'. 'I've always had problems, if not outright, most of the time, then latently, with my family!' Harking back to what we had talked about last time, Jeremiah Bereano went on to explain that, for whatever reason, whether because his beliefs ( which he doesn't apologize for ) are somewhat different, or because he leads a different sort of life, he has had problems communicating with his family, and thus holidays can become quite strenuous for him, since he feels that preaching is his life, that's what he knows. As he too a short breath; I had to interject a few thoughts, reminding him to look at himself, and not others, for the source of his 'problems': 'if you really want to get to the bottom of your family troubles, you might wanna take a look at yourself!' Having heard much of his family history, previously; I rehearsed to him how, after he had been introduced to some 'new' ideas, he had adopted much of them as his own, even taken them further in some areas, and had become rather vocal, if not a little antagonistic, toward those who disagreed. ( I've had some pretty heated discussions with him, myself ). I continued, 'Have you ever stopped to think that might be part of YOUR problem?!' 'Maybe your family ( and certain friends ) have become so used to your disagreeable temperament, especially regarding religion, that they've ( consciously or unconsciously ) decided that you're not that much fun to be around, except for the occasional holiday!' I could hear nothing but silence for what seemed like a few minutes, on the other end of the 'line', and I could almost see my friend hang his head as he thought about the harsh possibility of what I'd outlined for him. 'You might have a point there, Chuck', he ( almost grudgingly ) said; 'I realize that, in the past, I've held such an attitude of 'I'm right, and you're wrong', and 'if you don't see it my way, you just don't get it', that many people have probably, as you said, consciously or unconsciously, 'turned me off' and 'tuned me out'; so what can I do now?' 'I don't think it's too late', I consoled him; 'a couple things you might do is, first; get off your high horse, stop talking down to everybody about how all this so-called 'knowledge' of yours makes you so 'all-fired' right all the time, so everybody else is wrong, or just hasn't gotten it yet..............' He interrupted me quickly, saying, 'I believe that God has given me this knowledge, and if that makes me right, then they ARE wrong!' 'Jer', I said, 'that may or may not be the case, but if you go around alienating everybody, because you think God's given you this 'knowledge' that He's, for whatever reason, held back from everybody else, by telling them that you have the truth, and they, just because they don't understand it quite the same way as you, don't; then it's no wonder that nobody wants to listen to you!' 'You need to realize that, just because you believe that God's shown you the truth, doesn't mean that you have it, and even if you have it to a greater extent then the average person, that doesn't give you the right to walk around ( no pun intended ) acting like you're better than everybody else, trying to prove that you're right all the time and that you know everything!' 'Learn what it means to defer, and whether you think you're right or not; humble yourself, and acknowledge that you DON'T know everything, you're NOT right all the time, and there just may be something you CAN learn from other people; like how to show people you love them , not just tell them, and then act differently, and how to show people that you believe such and such a way, not just tell them, and then destroy any effect you might have had ( for good ) by not living up to your words! Now I was ranting, and hoping that my friend wouldn't hang up in fury and frustration! My friend had had enough, so he quietly said that he had to go, and before he said goodbye; he meekly ( or is that 'weakly' ) said 'thanks', then softly hung up the phone. In God's good providence; I might not hear from my friend, while he mulls things over, then hopefully, acts on them!