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by Alan Smith

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    How do you decide what information to hold back and what to share directly? How about a little story to help us NOT point the way?

Two brothers, John and Richard, lived in the same town — John with his 12-year-old cat, Richard with their 88-year-old mother. John’s whole life was his cat. He never went anywhere without her. One day he was faced with a terrible decision. He had to go to England on business for his company and he couldn’t take the cat into England with having to quarantine her for 14 days. He wouldn’t do that so he was faced with either losing his job or leaving his cat. Finally he decided to trust his brother with the cat for the week he would be gone. He gave Richard detailed instructions, schedules, food, etc. He flew to London and called Richard every day to make sure Gracie the cat was OK.

On the fifth day when he called, John asked Richard how Gracie was and Richard told him. “Gracie is dead.” Well, as you can imagine, John nearly had a heart attack. When he recovered, he said to Richard, “That was the most cruel thing I ever heard. You know how much I loved that cat. Why couldn’t you have broken it to me gently? You could have something like, “Well, she’s OK, but she’s up on the roof.” And then when I called the next time, tell me, “Oh oh, bad news, she fell off the roof and she’s at the vet.” And then the next time break the news that she passed away. At least I would have been a little prepared for the bad news.”

“Yes, you are right John. I apologize for being so heartless.” John accepted Richard’s apology for being so uncaring, and then said, “Oh, by the way, how’s Mother?”

Richard said, “Well, John, she’s OK, but she’s on the roof!”

“She’s OK, but she’s on the roof!”
    There are some pieces of information that we just shouldn’t even try to hold back. Talking about Jesus falls into that category. I think of Peter and John who were told to stop preaching about Christ and they said,

We cannot keep quiet. We must speak about what we have seen and heard. (Acts 4:20, NCV)

Paul said, “Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16b)

    You can feel the urgency in their voices through the years and the language barrier! I believe that we need to use tact in talking to people about Christ. But sometimes, we are so worried about offending people that we never get around to saying anything at all!

    Break the news. And break it gently if you wish. Just be careful that your message is not so “gentle” that it’s of no value at all.

 
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      © 2002, Alan Smith. Used by permission. This devotional was reprinted from Thought for the Day.

      Title: ""
      Author: Alan Smith
      Publication Date: October 6, 2002


 

 
 
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