OK, let's see where we ended up yesterday. I know where I did - in a fog, as suddenly my computer started to rebel. Fortunately, I have this very good friend who helps me though such problems.
Anyway, here is a recap - the first five on Steve Tobak's list of - behaviors of genuine people:
1. They don't seek attention.
2. They are not concerned with being liked.
3. They can tell when others are full of it.
4. They are comfortable in their own skin.
5. They do what they say and say what they mean.
For the record, I used to ignore all of those qualities. My thought then was, well, no one helped me to get started along the way. I was wrong. My grandparents were God sends, but I either did not know that or, I was unwilling to admit how truly blessed I had been. Enough of that, let's move on.
"They don't need a lot of stuff." Well, I was raised in the thirties and early forties. Stuff was not something we coveted. A used bicycle was good enough. Being the oldest child, at least I did not have to learn about wearing clothes that others had grown out of, such as were worn by my grade school play mates. My best friend had two older brothers and his first new clothes were provided by his bride's parents.
"They are not thin-skinned." I was extremely proud of my service in uniform and had yet to learn that there are other people who could care less for the military. I recall the parades and the parties that were held for the veterans of WWII, but there was no attention paid to those of us returning from the Korean War. And so, whenever anyone bragged on how brave the veterans in WWII had been, I ached and when no one noticed,... well, that is better left unsaid.
"They are not overly modest or boastful." After I graduated from college and for years afterwards, this was certainly not among my qualities. "Speak up..." was my general response when I would hear others being put down by people who had never earned the right to criticize. I thought I had learned to tamper such thoughts as the veterans of Vietnam began to appear among us, but as I felt impressed with an opportunity to brag about my so-called accomplishments, I just simply opened my mouth ad let the tirades rage on.
"They are consistent." I will never forget when a man I would soon be calling my best fried offered this advice as we were planning on working together on a project. "Have you ever realized how very inconsistent you are? You tend to jump from this to that subject without ever pausing to let others offer comments on what you started to say," It was a good thing - for me, that he had chosen to be my friend before he realized the flaw in my character. The best thing I did was realize how accurate his assessment of me had been. We were just about to complete the project on which we had been working and he was killed in a auto accident. At his funeral, I was in tears as I embraced his wife and daughters and she whispered in my ear, "He really loved you, Sherwood, let that become his greatest gift to you."
'"They practice what they preach." That struck home. For too many years, I came away from Sunday sermons with the impression, the speaker was really helpful as a guide for my life, I would attend the next week and hear him speak and he would be talking about some other subject. I was confused. I was looking for him to become a mentor, but that would never be the case. I became confused about preachers and their role in our lives and to me, I was expecting to realize a return on the investments I was thought I had been making in the church.
And then my whole life collapsed. Quite obviously, I was expecting the experiences in my life to begin pay dividends as well and I was about to learn, I was not just bankrupt according to the monies I had accrued, I was bankrupt in ever other aspect of my life. I wound up in a faraway city with $10 in my pocket, not knowing personally, another soul, nor even one in the whole State, I had no job prospects, but something had happened on that bus that was far more important than even my next breath
I was on a bus and I had my Bible and as we rode along so I used that opportunity to read it, possibly thinking of studying it - for a change, Not knowing where to start, I decided to start where Jesus started - in the red letter pages, Matthew 4:17. Jesus speaking, "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at had." I wondered what that meant as I really did not know, so I turned my eyes heavenward and "asked" God, "What does that mean?" My advice, don't ever try that, unless you are as desperate as I was to learn the truth. God responded. He did! You don't have to believe me as you were not there, but His answers pierced my soul and for a moment I was frightened. But I have to believe, He knew that I knew and in those moments I was washed, clean. You don't have to believe that either, but for the past forty years I have "walked" in that faith, that assurance, and He has never - as in not ever, failed me.
Repent - for me, it means taking a 180 degree turn along the path you are travelling. You don't veer off, you turn completely around, putting to rest, the problems of the past. You start with a clean slate and when you make a mistake, you repent anew and keep moving on, alone, except for the One in whom you have placed your faith. That He is faithful is a understatement. I could tell you of incidents that have happened, over and over again in the almost forty years we have walked together, but I have already challenged you, if you need a challenge,
When I first read Tobak's article, I looked closely at each of the ten items and I came away pleased at the changes that have taken place in my life. I will not claim that I am genuine in each of the issues he raised, but I can tell you this, He - that is my Lord, Jesus Christ, is and always has been genuine in dealing with my life. Obviously, I encourage you to allow Him permission to examine yours.