Sometimes we can have some awkward situations at the dinner table. I remember one lady who had a dinner party and spent all day preparing for it. When the guests were all seated, she asked her daughter, who was about six years old, to say the blessing before the meal. The little girl whispered to her mom, "But mom, I don't know what to say."
Her mom whispered back, "That's OK, honey. Just pray like you've heard mommy pray before."
So, the little girl bowed her head and prayed, "O Lord, why did I invite all these stupid people for dinner?"
I believe it was John Workman, a retired pastor and journalist, who was remembering an incident when he was a boy. John's father was also a preacher, and one time they were having a guest preacher for a revival. John's father warned the kids ahead of time that the revival preacher would be staying at their house and eating with them, and whatever else they did, they were not to stare at his nose. The man had a huge honker. Sure enough, the first meal they had with the visiting preacher, it was all the children could do not to stare at the man's prodigious snout. But they made it all right until the preacher refilled his tea glass, and young John, trying to be polite, passed him the sugar bowl and said, "Sir, would you like some sugar for your nose?"
I guess I thought of these stories simply because I was thinking how easy it is to say the wrong thing and it was never intended for harm. As I've heard all my life "open your mouth and stick your foot in it." We've all done it but remember it is not unforgivable. I repeat it is not unforgivable. Sadly, too often we think it is unforgivable, especially if the comment hurt our feelings. If we say something that is regrettable, we so want to be forgiven but what about those times when someone says something that hurts our feelings? Are we as quick to forgive as we would want to be forgiven?
Remember what Jesus said, "Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your sins." Mark 11:25 ( NRSV )
Pastor James "Skip" French is the pastor of Highland Christian Church, 1500 Forest Hills Blvd., Bella Vista. Opinions expressed are those of the author.