Have you ever thought someone was a snob because he didn’t speak to you, but later you found out that he had just heard some tragic news? He wasn’t being a jerk, he was just in shock. Often, we don’t know people’s motives or their background, and we make a premature judgment, which gets us into trouble.
Like the old man who took his ugly dog for his regular Sunday walk in the park. He sat on the park bench while his dog played at his feet. They weren’t bothering anyone. Soon a younger man appeared with his dog. Both the young man and his dog had a mean, bulldog-type look on their faces. They were looking for a fight. They began taunting the little old man and his ugly dog. The younger man commanded his dog, “Spike!” and pointed in the ugly dog’s direction. The little old man calmly addressed the aggressor, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Irritated by the old man’s comment, the young man commanded Spike to attack the frail-looking mutt. The old man reiterated, “I wouldn’t do that!” As the battle raged in cartoon fashion (lots of barking, dust flying and dogs running in circles), the result was unexpected. Spike lay defeated, torn to pieces by the ugly canine. His humbled master said to the old man, “What kind of dog is that?” to which the codger replied, “Well, before I cut off his tail and painted him yellow, he was an alligator!”
A chicken and an elephant were locked in a cage together. The chicken turned to the elephant and said, “We need to set a few ground rules. First, let’s not step on each other.” The chicken was looking at it from his point of view. Our chicken point of view affects our relationship with others. Our tendency is to want to straighten people out for our own benefit. If you think straightening people out is your job, I suggest you become a funeral director. That way when you straighten them out, they’ll stay straightened out.
Remember, God is the construction manager of people’s lives, not you. Have you ever gone through a construction area and seen a sign that says, “Slow, Men Working”? That’s absolutely right; there are slow men working. I thought about that sign the other day. We should put up a sign that says, “Slow, God Working.” God works slowly. I don’t think he wears a watch. To him a minute is like a million years. So let’s put two signs in our minds that say, “Slow, God Working” and “Danger! Keep Out.”
A football player decided he wanted to be a wrestler. The coach said he didn’t think he would be any good at it because he didn’t have any wrestling skills. But the kid was determined. His technique was awful, but he ended up at the state finals. He had to wrestle last year’s state champion. The Champ was just killing him. It was so bad, the coach buried his head in his hands. All of a sudden a huge cheer came from the crowd, and the coach looked up. The kid had won the match. He asked, “How did you do that? One second you’re losing and the next you win.” The kid said, “He had me in some sort of position and I didn’t know what to do. The only thing I could see was a big toe. So I bit the toe as hard as I could. Coach, you won’t believe what you can do when you bite your own big toe.”
The truth is, we don’t want to be stepped on, but often we’re not careful about whom we step on. So the next time you feel like straightening someone out, go ahead and act like an alligator. Only this time, bite your own big toe.