The Situation Room
by Aneel Aranha
Over the past several months I have found myself fascinated to see how Christians faced in a difficult situation take the wrong path even when they know the right one to take. It just reinforced the conviction I have always held that it isn't enough to know what to do, we need to know how to do it.
In The Situation Room we will take a look at some common scenarios that we face in our daily lives, and see how we might possibly do the right thing. While these examples and the accompanying notes are intended mainly for Christians eager to climb up the spiritual mountain, we can all learn something from them.
You are a valued member of a ministry team that renders important service to the Lord. One day, a new member joins the team. He (or she) happens to be blessed with many talents and the spotlight shifts from you onto him/her. What do you do?
- You welcome the new person with real joy in your heart, thinking of how much stronger the team will be now.
- You decide you will leave the group and join a new one where you can be the focus of attention once again.
- You are determined to have the focus put back on you and begin a smear campaign against the new person.
- You feel envious, but wanting to do the right thing by God, you remain in the group and do the best you can to work together in harmony.
Somebody you know drops by to your place for a visit and then proceeds to badmouth everybody and everything—after, of course, obtaining your affirmation that she is not gossipping but merely "sharing." This is what you do:
- Decide it would be impolite to tell her to shut up; besides you are a little curious to know what folks around you are saying.
- Tell the person to her face that you'd rather not engage in the conversation, even though you know it could very well jeopardize your relationship.
- Listen with great eagerness interspersing every second statement with gushed, "Oh really?" or "How shocking!", thereby ensuring that the verbal flow of diarrhoea doesn't stop.
- Pitch in with your own contributions, embellishing all of them with copious amounts of garnish to make it more interesting.
You notice that a friend of yours appears to have suddenly begun to ignore you. You have been on very good terms with him for the most part, talking often and at length, and you find the change in him both unsettling and upsetting. This is what you do:
- You pick up the phone to everybody who will listen and complain about much your friend has changed, badmouthing him as much as possible while at it.
- You sulk and wait until your friend and everybody from the paperboy to the milkman notices how upset you are, though you refuse to tell anyone what is wrong.
- You call up your friend and tell him you are a little hurt you havenít heard from him and ask him what the reason for his silence is.
- You decide that you don't want to have anything to do with a person so unloving - or even the company he keeps - and quit attending the same parties (or prayer group) that he attends.
You are trying your best to walk in the imitation of Christ and appear to be succeeding admirably well when you suddenly bump into a gorgeous creature who really stirs up your senses. She seems to understand you so well, it feels as though God has tailor-made her for you. You suspect it wouldn't take much to fall in love with her, which would not necessarily be a bad thing, except for one minor detail: you have a wife at home. This is what you do:
- You tell yourself that God has sent you someone to be an understanding companion in your journey towards Him and ask your wife for a divorce.
- You fight off all unholy desire, determined to love her in a manner that will be pleasing to Christ.
- You try to stay away from her beyond what is absolutely necessary, but indulge yourself in elaborate fantasies from time to time.
- You find yourself unable to resist the attraction and indulge in a torrid affair, consoling yourself that God will understand your weakness.
You were the best of friends with a certain lady, until she betrayed your confidence. You found yourself so badly hurt by her actions, you ceased all communication with her. A week ago, however, you heard a preacher give a brilliant talk on forgiveness that inspired you to forgive her. But now you've just walked into a party where you see her sitting at a table, her back to you, and you feel the hurt and the bitterness rise in your chest like bile. This is what you do:
- You promptly turn and make for the exit.
- You join the party, taking the table farthest away from her and make it a point never to look in her direction.
- You smile at her coldly if you happen to catch her eye, and then ignore her for the rest of the evening.
- You go up to her, shake her hand and tell her itís nice to see her again; then make it a point to say bye to her as you leave.
You are having a great week. You havenít lost your temper even once and are very happy at the self-control that you have exercised - very much in keeping with what God has asked of you (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Then, your wife comes along and, without any reason, accuses you of having an affair with the next door neighbor. She refuses to stop badgering you and you find yourself getting angrier by the second. This is what you do:
- You yell at your wife to shut up (perhaps slapping her for additional emphasis); then blame her for provoking you into getting angry.
- You leave the house, and go for a long drive giving her - and you! - time to cool off.
- You try to stay calm and refuse to get provoked no matter what she does.
- You decide that since you are being accused of having an affair, you might as well go out and have one.
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