Quick, Slow, Slow (confession #3)

Several weeks ago, I was at lunch with some friends and one made the offhand comment that she just wasn’t a Bible-study person. Several things happened at once, and I want to highlight two of them for our conversation today. When this comment hit the table, no one responded–their silence electing me as the Spokesperson For Convincing Others of the Value of Biblestudy. But I just didn’t know what to say, so I too remained silent. I was listening to a young woman who I’d personally seen grow, dismiss the value of studying God’s word for her life. She was willing to admit that it must be beneficial for others, but she simply wasn’t one of those people.

There are so many tangents I could take with this. But, I want to focus on two: her comment and my reaction. As I sat silently at the table, I was trying to figure out the best way to respond. I knew in that moment, I could reinforce her statement, or could at least give her another angle to consider; and perhaps that angle would open her up to the possibility that Biblestudy is beneficial to all, including her. But, while I paused, someone else choose to speak for me. I am a bit of an entertainer, and those who know me personally know that I’ll often take the path that leads to the laugh. A clinical psychologist could probably have a heyday analyzing my need to make people like me by entertaining them, even at my own expense. And this pattern in my behavior must have been the reason that another friend at the table announced something like “oh here it comes, Nicky’s going to loose it”. In a split second I was choosing between the thoughts I had been considering (how to encourage this girl to engage God’s word) or to react melodramatically, as was expected, and make the situation (hopefully) a joke.

I’d like to say I convinced this girl that there was no such person as a not-a-biblestudy-person. That indeed, she may have been previously invloved in Biblestudies that had dissapointed her in some way; but that must have been a shortcoming of the study itself, the method or the format, or even the theacher, but NOT that she had nothing to gain from small group study. I’d like to say that I did that.

But, I instead allowed my other friend to (in essence) tell me how to react. I didn’t actually “loose it” but I did offer some kind of muddled response between what I would’ve liked to have said, and a response far less gentle.

So this leads me to the two things I’d like us to ponder together, and I really hope that you take a moment to comment, I’d really like to hear your response (especially since I had to post the short version of this, since the full length would have been tooooo long)

What do you think of the question my friend posed at the lunch table? Do you think there are people who just aren’t Biblestudy-people? Do you feel that way about yourself? If not, what would you have said?

Have you ever botched an opportunity to do or say the right thing in a loving way, because you were expected to react differently?

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