Remember last week I wrote a couple paragraphs about things not always being what they seemed?

This picture is on the wall of President Johnson’s boyhood home (and this is a picture of the picture) in Johnson City, Texas.

What do you think this is? Look at it quickly and then look again.

Sometimes the “things not always being what they seem” aren’t actually things, but rather words.

Recently, someone was extremely rude to me, so rude, in fact, I would have to say it was one of the rudest things that I’ve ever encountered.

I would like to tell you about it, but because there’s a possibility the person could read the blog (though not likely), I’m not going to explain.

However, if I were new to a church and it had happened to me, I probably would not visit again.

If I were 14 or even 18, I would’ve been so devastated, I would’ve cried for at least six hours and 33 minutes.

But this is the reality. As rude and insensitive as the circumstance truly was – the person did not mean to be rude. I know the person and know he simply wasn’t thinking about what he was saying to me. I know that, although he meant what he said, he wasn’t thinking about how offensive it all sounded.  He displayed a BIG lack of sensitivity.

In his mind, I knew he wasn’t being rude; he just wasn’t thinking.

My point is, I could get angry at him and probably have a good case for being so.

Or, I could use it as an illustration and forget it and use some sensitivity myself in recognizing that the person in question didn’t mean what he said in the way it sounded.

Which is what I plan to do.

I’m bringing this up because sometimes the people in our churches say things and immediately we take offense, rather than giving them the benefit of the doubt. 

The Bible says: Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools (Ecc. 7:9)

*Maybe like the guy I’m talking about, the person isn’t thinking through what’s being said.

*Maybe the person means something entirely different than the way you’re interpreting it.

*Maybe you simply didn’t hear correctly.

Whatever the situation, don’t be quickly provoked to anger.

Things aren’t always what they seem.

Because -what did YOU see in the picture above?

A skull?

Or, a picture of a young girl getting ready for a party?


  1. I have recently realized the graciousness of God to me. In our time in ministry, we’ve experienced what all of us in ministry find familiar–thoughtless words that hurt, intentional words that hurt, actions that hurt. It can sometimes be hard to forgive these things that seem HUGE. But God is patient, and He helps us forgive.

    It occurred to me recently that after a time, those hurts are not the first things I think of when I see these people. I have to work to remember them. This is not me–this is the grace of God, causing me to forget.

    I am thankful.

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