Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Two Stories of Poor Behavior - Why motive matters more than rules.

At this time, I would like to thank the Lifehouse youth group with bringing me back down to earth. That is all. Moving on...

I still think Christians ought to ask themselves why they hesitate to talk to their friends and family about Jesus. But how should we look at this from the perspective of grace? I'm not saying you have to tell a certain amount of people about Jesus in order to consider yourself a "good Christian". I want to know why people who experience something as great as salvation wouldn't want to share that with the people around them. 

In the wake of all the discussions I've had since Monday, I'd like to tell two stories. One of them happened and I made up the other. Maybe I won't tell you which is which so you can figure it out for yourself. 

My brother went to Dallas to attend a church leadership and mission school. They had more rules than the Bible. I don't think that's an exaggeration. If you set the rule book next to an NIV, the NIV would look like the Cliff/Spark Notes. One rule said all men had to remain clean shaven. My brother thought this sounded harmless enough until one of the campus leaders ran the edge of a student ID along his cheek to test for stubble. 

Every failure to abide by the rules resulted in demerits. Earning enough demerits could get you kitchen duty or some other kind of Beetle Bailey punishment. My brother and his friends were constantly following rules because they didn't want to scrub burned chicken grease off of pots. 

When I went to visit during my spring break, I knew I didn't have to worry about those rules since I wasn't a student. I walked into morning chapel with my shirt untucked. A buttoned up, smiling man said, "Good morning, brother! You should tuck in your shirt." And like a smartass, I said, "I'm not your brother. And I like how my shirt looks." Later, I walked outside and cut across the lawn toward the parking lot. A campus leader on the sidewalk stared holes through me. "You're not supposed to walk on the grass," he called out. So I obliged. I laid down and barrel rolled the rest of the way to my brother's car. 

I realize I acted like a jerk. But the point is, I didn't have to listen to them. The rules didn't apply to me. 

Much later in life, so much later, I met my future wife at a birthday party. We began talking that night and then talked nearly every night afterward. Within a few months, we decided to start dating. 

That first week of our new relationship, we ran into an old crush of mine. And, like a stupid sitcom actor, I introduced my new girlfriend by saying, "and this is... my friend... Chelsea." Of course the old crush could see the BS all over me and the perturbed look on Chelsea's face. 

Which story do you think is true? I'm curious to see what you say. 

But assuming both stories were true, why would I be more ashamed of the one boneheaded move with Chelsea than breaking every rule on the campus of my brother's school?


brandon_g said...

i dont know which one is true. maybe the second one is true only because the first one is more full, more words, more entertaining. i can see you being very proud of introducing your girlfriend to your ex,

and if both stories are true then you would be more ashamed about the incident with chelsea because you care about her and respect her more than some silly people with some silly rules at a camp. why would you be ashamed about disobeying their stupid laws?

Isaiah Kallman said...

I promised Chels I would set the record straight as soon as someone offered a guess. The first story is true, I really did break a pile of rules at my brother's school.

I made up the second story. I've always been proud of Chelsea and I'm aware that she's more than I deserve. I was so excited to have her in my life, I told everyone.

And I still tell everyone, because I still know how good I have it.

Joe said...

True story: I went to Bob Jones for a visit in High School. This teacher I had promised me that if I decided to go there, he would pay. Plus he talked my girlfriend into going.
Some dude walks up to me and asks my name and student ID# because I was wearing blue jeans.
I told him my name was Robert Jones and my number was 000666. He didn't laugh. I did.